Mar 15 2019

Turkish unemployment climbs to 13.5 percent; highest level since 2010

Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 13.5 percent in December, the highest level since early 2010, according to official data published on Friday.

The rate increased from 12.3 percent in November, rising for the eighth straight month, as companies laid off more staff amid an economic recession.

The number of unemployed stood at 4.3 million in December, an increase of 1,011,000 compared with 12 months earlier, when the jobless rate was 10.4 percent, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on its website.

Unemployment in Turkey is climbing after a currency crisis last year, sparked by concerns about economic overheating and a political spat with the United States. The economy contracted by a quarterly 2.4 percent in the three months to December, the statistical institute said on Monday, after a 1.6 percent decline in the previous three months.

Non-agricultural unemployment rose to 15.6 percent from 14.3 percent in November. The jobless rate among persons aged 15 to 24 increased to 24.5 percent from 23.6 percent, the data showed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government is seeking to reverse Turkey’s economic slump with tax cuts and help for indebted businesses and consumers ahead of municipal elections on March 31.

The lira fell by 28 percent against the dollar last year, spurring inflation to more than 20 percent, the highest level in 15 years, and making loans more expensive for businesses and consumers to repay, especially those denominated in foreign currency.