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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Turkish unemployment at almost 10-year high between December and February

Unemployment was at 14.7% during the period

A street vendor stands next to his stall in front of a jewellery shop in Istanbul, Turkey. The country entered its first recession in a decade following a currency rout last year that touched off inflation. Reuters
A street vendor stands next to his stall in front of a jewellery shop in Istanbul, Turkey. The country entered its first recession in a decade following a currency rout last year that touched off inflation. Reuters

Turkey's unemployment rate surged to 14.7 per cent in the December-February period, its highest level in almost 10 years, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute showed on Monday.

Non-agricultural unemployment stood at 16.8 per cent in the same period, the data showed. The ranks of the unemployed swelled by 366,000 people in one month. In the November-January period, unemployment stood at 13.5 per cent while non-agricultural unemployment was at 15.6 per cent, Reuters reported.

Unemployment last stood at 14.7 per cent in the February-April period of 2009.

Most of the municipalities won by the opposition from the ruling party or its nationalist partner in last month’s elections suffered from unemployment that was comparatively worse than in other parts of Turkey, official data show.

The severity of the job losses despite a last-ditch spending blitz by the government underscores the economic challenges facing Turkey after it entered its first recession in a decade following a currency rout last year that touched off inflation.

Even as authorities sharply ramped up fiscal stimulus during the first three months through March, the effort has so far brought little in the way of relief. The number of people without jobs has reached 4.7 million people, with youth unemployment jumping to 26.7 per cent, a record high, according to data going back to 1988, according to Bloomberg.

Turkey has rolled out a recapitalisation plan for state banks, but the programme unveiled by Treasury & Finance Minister Berat Albayrak last week has underwhelmed investors. Meanwhile, the economic pain isn’t letting up.

“The rise in unemployment will continue - albeit at a slowing pace,” said Muammer Komurcuoglu, an Istanbul-based economist at IS Investment. “A sharp monthly deterioration in job creation continues to take place across all the sub-sectors. We are seeing very clearly the impact of the economic slowdown on unemployment.”

Updated: April 15, 2019 06:46 PM

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