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Turkey’s unemployment rate falls slightly in third quarter of 2020

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Turkey’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.8 percent year-on-year and stood at 13.2 percent in the third quarter of 2020, while the number of people in the workforce fell in the same period, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) has announced.

Unemployment stood at 14 percent in the same period of 2019.

The number of unemployed had decreased by 456,000 to 4.2 million as of August, according to TurkStat.

However, 27,554,000 people were employed, down from 28,540,000 in the same period of 2019.

According to economist Yalçın Karatepe, who analyzed for Deutsche Welle’s Turkish edition a similar decrease in the unemployment rate although there was also a fall in the number of employed back in June, there is a declining unemployment rate, despite a drop in the number of employed, because the number of people who are “discouraged” about seeking employment is increasing.

“If you are not registered as seeking a job, you are not unemployed,” Karatepe wrote in his Deutsche Welle column, “If you ask why some people are not seeking employment, TurkStat explains this as well. They are ‘discouraged’ about looking for a job.”

TurkStat does not include people who are not seeking a job in the labor force; thus, millions who are not employed are not considered unemployed.

The number of people in the labor force decreased by 1,431,000 to 31,749,000 in the third quarter of 2020.

Nearly 4 million people are “not seeking a job, but available to start one,” and 1,331,000 of them are “discouraged” about seeking one, meaning they have lost all hope of finding a job, according to TurkStat figures. The number of people who are not seeking employment for reasons other than discouragement is 2,752,000

If the people categorized as “discouraged” are included in the labor force, the unemployment rate increases to 15 percent.

Countries like the United States also do not include people who are not seeking a job in the labor force. However, according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 10 percent of them say they want a job, while in Turkey, the rate is more than 13 percent, resulting in significantly more people who could not find work being excluded from the labor force.

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