Middle East

Turkey jobless rate climbs to 12% in July as supports end

ISTANBUL, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 12.0 percent in July from 10.6 percent a month earlier as pandemic-related labour supports expired, according to data on Friday that also showed an uptick in the underutilization of workers.

A ban on layoffs imposed during the coronavirus outbreak and a government wage support system, both adopted in early 2020, expired at the start of July.

Both measures were designed to support businesses and registered employees during the pandemic while keeping a lid on the jobless rate, which peaked at 14.4 percent in July last year.

In July this year, a seasonally adjusted measure of labour underutilisation climbed to 23.6 percent from 22.4 percent a month earlier. It had risen at the start of the year to around a peak touched in May of 2020 during the height of the initial COVID-19 lockdown.

The labour force participation rate rose 0.9 percentage points from a month earlier to 51.2 percent in July. From January, the data was presented in a new format in line with international standards.

Turkey had imposed a full lockdown in the first half of May as COVID-19 cases surged to record levels but began easing restrictions in the second half of that month, giving a boost to sectors including tourism, restaurants and cafes.

The seasonally-adjusted youth unemployment rate was 23.1 percent in July, unchanged from the level a month earlier. The non-agricultural unemployment rate was at 13.9 percent in July, up 1.6 points from a month earlier.

Reporting by Canan Sevgili Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Jonathan Spicer

IMAGE: A man stands next to public phones in Istanbul, Turkey, November 8, 2017.

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