Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent in February

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Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent in February, up 0.7 percentage points from the previous month and increasing by 250,000 since then to 4.2 million people, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) released on Monday.

The jobless rate was 12.2 percent in January and 13.6 percent in February 2020, before the coronavirus hit Turkey. Throughout the last year, unemployment was held down by a ban on layoffs that has been extended through mid-May.

While the number of employed decreased by 22,000 to 27,477,000 in February 2021 over the previous month, the employment rate dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 43.4 percent.

The labor force numbered 31,712,000, with a monthly increase of 226,000. The labor force participation rate was 50.1 percent, TurkStat said.

The country’s youth unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was 26.9 percent in February, increasing by 0.4 percent over the previous month, and the employment rate decreased by 0.3 percent in the same period to 28.1 percent. The labor force participation rate in this age group was 38.5 percent.

As of January the institute made changes to its household workforce survey in line with International Labor Organization (ILO) resolutions and the relevant European Union regulations, shifting the labor force statistics from three-month moving averages to independent monthly estimates.

The new official data sets included a seasonally adjusted measure of labor underutilization, which decreased to 28.3 percent in February after rising for four straight months to 29.1 percent in January, which was near a peak in May of last year during the height of Turkey’s COVID-19 lockdown.

In February 2021 the rate of composite measure of labor underutilization consisting of time-related underemployment, potential labor force and unemployment was 28.3 percent with a 1.2 percentage point decrease compared to the previous month.

The combined rate of time-related underemployment and unemployment rose to 19.8 percent, from 19.7 percent a month earlier, TurkStat said.

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