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ECONOMICS >Turkey’s unemployment rate rises to 12.7 pct, highest in seven years

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Turkey’s unemployment rate hit 12.7 percent in December 2016, the highest since March 2010, while youth unemployment stood at 24 percent, official data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on March 15. 

The unemployment rate saw a rise of 1.9 percent compared to same month in the previous year, according to TÜİK. Unemployment also saw a 0.6-point increase from the previous month, with an eighth consecutive rise since last August.      

The seasonally changing unemployment rate was 12 percent with a 0.2 percentage point increase.

The number of unemployed persons aged 15 and above was realized as 3.87 million with 668,000 persons, an increase in the period of December 2016 in Turkey compared with the same period of the previous year.

In the same period, non-agricultural unemployment rate was 14.9 percent with 2.2 percentage point increase.

Youth unemployment rate, including persons aged 15 to 24, hit 24 percent with a 4.8 percentage point of increase. 

The data showed that the economy experienced a weak growth so as not to ease the unemployment rate, but the government’s campaign to boost employment could downward the rate by the second quarter of the year, according to analysts. 

“Several measures were taken to stimulate economic activity. The government recently announced a subsidy that aims to encourage employers to hire additional employees. These steps might help curb the rise in unemployment as of February,” said Gökçe Çelik, a chief economist at QNB Finansbank, as quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency. 

She, however, warned that the main trend in job creation will be driven by the growth outlook, so unemployment might remain at elevated levels unless economic activity picks up meaningfully.        


‘One of biggest problems of Turkey’

Unemployment is one of the biggest problems in Turkey and the government will solve it together with the private sector, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said early March 15.

“When the economic growth decreases fewer than 5.5 percent, a hike in the unemployment rate becomes unavoidable. As the cabinet members, we have totally mobilized to support growth and employment,” he said, as quoted by Reuters. 

The government’s employment encouragement campaign, which was announced early in February by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, aims to create 2 million new jobs. 

Some 232,085 new jobs were created across Turkey in February after the government started a campaign to boost employment, government officials announced early March. 

The number of people employed was 26.67 million in the December period, which covered November, December and January, up by 221, from a year earlier, data showed.        

The labor force participation rate was another factor in the report explaining the rise in unemployment despite solid job creation.        

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) was 51.6 percent, up 0.7 percentage points or 888,000.

March/15/2017

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