Turkey’s unemployment rate falls to 13.1 percent in March

Turkish unemployment declined to 13.1 percent in March after the government temporarily relaxed a lockdown on the population due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic activity picked up.

The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate decreased from 13.2 percent in February, the Turkish Statistical Institute reported on Monday. It had stood at 13 percent in March last year.

Employment increased by 550,000 month-on-month to 28.09 million as 610,000 people joined the labour force. Female employment fell by 36,000, the institute said.

Some companies re-employing people after putting them on unpaid leave during the pandemic. Turkey has the fastest-growing population among major economies in southeast Europe, meaning a constantly expanding labour force.

Turkish firms have been barred from sacking employees since the outbreak of COVID-19, meaning those put on unpaid leave do not show up in unemployment data.

Turkey's government tightened lockdown measures last month to stop the spread of the coronavirus after daily cases rose to successive record highs.