Turkey unemployment rate falls to 12.2 percent after calculation change

Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 12.2 percent in January, or to 3.86 million people, the Turkish Statistical Institute said, as it stopped calculating the figure based on three-month averages and introduced new European Union-inspired regulations.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell from 12.6 percent in December, the institute said on Wednesday. It stood at 12.8 percent in January last year.

Turkey is seeking to curb the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the job market by barring companies from laying off workers and providing financial aid for employees put on short working weeks or unpaid leave. The measures have capped the official unemployment rate but have led to a decrease in the job force and people unemployed and seeking work.

In February, the institute had reported unemployment of 12.9 percent for the three months to December on a seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted basis. The rate had stood at an unadjusted 12.7 percent in the three months to November.

The number of people in the labour force, including those seeking a job, increased by 821,000 month-on-month in January to 31.6 million but fell by 366,000 on an annual basis, the institute said. Persons not in the labour force dropped by 725,000 to 31.7 million compared with December. The number increased by 1.59 million from January last year.

The labour force participation rate rose by 1.2 percentage points from December to 49.9 percent but it dropped by 1.6 percent compared with January last year, the institute said.