Turkey’s jobless rate drops in February amid rise in services, construction hiring
DHA photoTurkey’s unemployment rate fell to 10.9 percent in February from 11.2 percent in the same month last year, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on May 16.
Unemployment was down by 0.3 percentage points year-on-year, hitting 10.9 percent, in the February period between January and March, according to data.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also declined to 9.9 percent in February, seeing a single-digit figure for the first time since May 2014 mainly due to a rise in employment in the services and construction sectors.
According to data gathered by the Finance Ministry, total public sector employment amounted to 3.6 million workers, marking a rise of 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period of last year, the data showed.
However, analysts are warning about an expected series of developments that have the potential to increase unemployment, despite recent better-than-expected data.
“Despite the better-than-expected figures, we estimate that recovery in the services sector will not last long due to the slowdown in the tourism sector, so we do not revise our previous annual unemployment forecast of 10.4 percent,” said Odebank in a note, as reported by Reuters.
Turkey’s youth unemployment rate, drawn from the 15-24 age group, fell to 18.6 percent from 20 percent last year. The labor force participation rate was 50.8 percent, up by 0.7 points year-on-year.
Oyak Investment Chief Economist Mehmet Besimoğlu said the main reason behind the trend in the unemployment rate was the rise in the number of hired Syrians as a cheaper labor force.
“Besides, the latest problems in two of Turkey’s main markets, Russia and Iraq, have decelerated exports since mid-2014. We have seen the tourism sector become negatively affected by the rising geopolitical risks over this year. Fortunately, the industrial sector showed a strong performance in the first quarter of this year, creating a positive impact on the employment data,” Besimoğlu noted, as quoted by Reuters.
According to TÜİK data, the rate of workers without any social security coverage increased by 0.4 percentage points to 32.1 percent in the February period compared to the same period of 2015.