Apr 15 2019

Turkish jobless rate jumps to 14.7%; youth unemployment at record

Turkey’s unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in January, the highest level in almost a decade, underscoring the task facing the government in turning the economy around.

The rate climbed from 13.5 percent in December and from 10.8 percent a year earlier, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Monday. Some 4.67 million people were out of work, 1.25 million more than a year ago.

Turkish companies are shedding workers as a deep economic recession slashes profit and forces some firms to file for bankruptcy or restructure their debts.

The youth unemployment rate in Turkey rose to 26.7 percent, the highest on record, from 24.5 percent in December. Non-agricultural unemployment climbed to 16.9 percent in January from 15.6 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. It has ruled out financial aid from the International Monetary Fund – the country finished a previous loan programme in 2008.

The lira fell by 28 percent against the dollar last year, spurring inflation to reach as high as 25.2 percent, the highest level in 15 years. The economy contracted on a quarterly basis in the second half of last year, denoting a technical recession. Inflation now stands at just under 20 percent.

The lira fell 0.5 percent to 5.8 per dollar in Istanbul in late morning trade, taking losses this year to almost 9 percent.