Turkey’s unemployment continues to rise as Syrians enter workforce

Turkey’s unemployment continues to rise as Syrians enter workforce

Turkey’s unemployment continues to rise as Syrians enter workforce

DHA photo

Turkish unemployment edged higher to 10.3 percent in the September period between August and October from 10.1 percent at the previous period, but was slightly lower than the same period last year, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) said on Dec. 15. A rise in general participation in the workforce and in the number of Syrian migrants hired in the country has played a role in pushing up the unemployment rate, according to experts. 

The unemployment rate was announced at 10.3 percent in September with a decrease of 0.2 percentage point compared to the same period of 2014. In the same period, non-agricultural unemployment rate realized as 12.4 percent with a 0.3 percentage point decrease from the same period of 2014, according to official data. While youth unemployment rate, which includes those aged from 15-24, realized as 18.5 percent with a 0.6 percentage point decrease, unemployment rate for 15-64 age group appeared as 10.5 percent with a 0.2 percentage point decrease. 

İş Investment economist Muammer Kömürcüoğlu told Reuters a rise in the number of people participating in the workforce has pushed up the annual unemployment rate and around 171,000 new jobs have been created so far, mainly in industrial and services sectors. 

The labor force participation rate rose 1 percent in September year-on-year to 52.1 percent. The number of women participating in workforce increased 1.2 percent from the previous year to 32.3 percent, according to official data. The number of employed persons aged 15 years old and over is 27.1 million, with a 987,000-person increase in the period of September 2015 compared to the same period of the previous year, said TÜİK. Employment rate occurred as 46.8 percent with a 1 percent increase. 

“The rise in monthly employment rate is good, but it is early to talk about a long-term improvement. Some recovery in economic activities may be the case in the last quarter after political uncertainties have been left behind. We, however, see a weaker link between the economic growth rates and the unemployment rates as we experienced in earlier quarters. Besides, we believe that some negatives have arisen over the labor force market due to a rise in the number of Syrians participating in the market. In this vein, we don’t expect a dramatic recovery in the labor markets in the fourth quarter,” said Kömürcüoğlu, as quoted by Reuters. 

Turkey’s economy grew at a surprising 4 percent in the third quarter from the same period in the previous year, beating expectations and showing the economy in better shape than many analysts had forecasted. The 9-month growth rate has reached 3.4 percent. 

According to a joint study by the Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK) and the Ankara-based Hacettepe University’s Center for Migration and Political Studies (HÜGO), there are around 2.2 million Syrians in Turkey now, most of whom plan to live permanently in the country. At least 300,000 Syrians have been forecasted to work unregistered as they still cannot legally register in the system.