Turkey’s jobless rate continues rise in August amid slowing economy

Turkey’s jobless rate continues rise in August amid slowing economy
By bne IntelliNews November 15, 2016

Turkey’s unemployment rate hit a 19-month high in August, reflecting the effects of a slowing economy and troubles in the tourism industry. The jobless rate rose to 11.3% in August from 10.7% in July, data from the statistics office showed on November 15.

The reading was by 1.2 percentage points higher than its level in August 2015. The number of unemployed stood at 3.49mn people in August, or by 435,000 more than in the same period last year.

The number of employed in the services sector that includes the struggling tourism industry increased by 600,000 in August compared with the same month of last year but 159,000 jobs were lost in services compared with July.

Employment in agriculture fell by 257,000 and industry lost 28,000 jobs from a year ago but construction created 8,000 new jobs.

The labour participation rate edged up to 52.6% in August from 52.1% in the same month of 2015 but it fell from 52.7% in July. The seasonally adjusted unemployment stood at 11.4% in August, rising from 10.3% a year ago and up from July's reading of 11.2%.

Politicians in Ankara are taking a number of measures to boost economic activity. Weak growth and high unemployment is not something the government wants to see as it plans a referendum on the presidential system sometime next year, probably in the spring. But officials are admitting that GDP growth is likely to miss the government’s downwardly revised targets this year and next.

Growth in Q3 may come in at zero or turn negative, meaning the figure for 2016 as a whole is likely to be around 2.8%, and the 4.4% target could be missed next year as well, according to the officials.

Investors fear that as the government spends much of its energy on the planned referendum it will be less focused on much-needed economic reforms. But the government is confident that the economy will recover starting from next year, arguing that 2016 has been an exceptional year. Unexpected developments, such as the failed coup attempt in July affected economic activity, hurting business and consumer confidence.

Turkey's Labour Market                    
  Oct Nov Dec Jan-16 Feb Mar May Jun Jul Aug
Labour force participation rate (%) 51.6 51.2 50.9 50.7 50.8 51.3 52.5 52.4 52.7 52.6
Unemployed (mn) 3.15 3.13 3.20 3.29 3.22 3.02 2.90 3.13 3.32 3.49
Unemployment Rate (%) 10.5 10.5 10.8 11.1 10.9 10.1 9.4 10.2 10.7 11.3
Non-Farm Unemployment Rate (%) 12.6 12.4 12.7 13.0 12.7 11.9 11.3 12.2 13.0 13.7
Seasonally-adjusted Unemployment Rate (%) 10.6 10.4 10.3 10.1 10.1 9.9 10.4 11.0 11.2 11.4
Seasonally-adjusted Non-Farm Unemployment Rate (%) 12.5 12.3 12.3 12.1 12.0 11.8 12.3 13.0 13.3 13.5
Source: statistics institute