Turkish unemployment grows for sixth month to 11.6 percent

Turkey’s jobless rate rose for a sixth-straight month in October as an economic downturn persisted.

The rate of unemployment was 11.6 percent in the three months to November, with October as the midpoint, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Tuesday. The rate increased from 11.4 percent in September. The number of jobless people rose by more than half a million over a 12-month period. 

Turkish companies are laying off staff amid a slump in economic activity brought about by a slide in the lira’s value. The lira fell 28 percent against the dollar last year, spurring inflation to more than 20 percent, the highest level in 15 years, and bringing a surge in interest rates.

The level of unemployment, excluding agricultural workers, rose to 13.6 percent from 13.5 percent in September, according to the data. Youth unemployment climbed to 22.3 percent from 21.6 percent the previous month.

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 economy shrank by 1.1 percent on a quarterly basis in the three months to September. Some economists estimate that negative economic growth continued in the fourth quarter, meaning the country entered a technical recession defined as two-straight quarters of contraction.