Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 12.2 percent in January

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Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 12.2 percent in January, and the worker participation rate rose toward 50 percent from a month earlier, Reuters reported, citing data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) presented on Wednesday in a new format in line with international standards.

The jobless rate was 12.6 percent in December and 12.8 percent a year earlier, before the coronavirus fallout hit Turkey. Throughout 2020, unemployment was held down by a ban on layoffs that has been extended through mid-May.

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

A combined measure of time-related underemployment and unemployment rose to 19.7 percent, from 17.8 percent a month earlier, TurkStat said.

In its adjustment TurkStat released single-month data for the first time rather than a three-month period, complying with International Labor Organization (ILO) resolutions and the relevant European Union regulations.

The labor force participation rate in January was 49.9 percent, compared with 48.7 percent a month earlier, the data showed. Total employment rose by some 820,000 to 27.7 million.

The non-agricultural unemployment rate fell to 14.2 percent from 14.7 percent a month earlier and youth unemployment dropped to 24.7 percent from 25.4 percent.

Some curbs remain on restaurants and cafes, as well as regional weekend curfews, weighing on Turkey’s service sector.

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