Turkey’s unemployme­nt rate is primed to set records. We break down the numbers

Dünya Executive - - COVER PAGE -

1 Approachin­g record levels

The unemployme­nt rate in January reached 14.7 percent. Turkey has never had such a high unemployme­nt rate in January. Moreover, this is the second highest rate in our history, only slightly behind the February 2009 record at 14.8 percent. The unemployme­nt rate in March that year was 14.7 percent, same as this January.

2 Little improvemen­t since the global crisis

Throughout the 20th century, Turkey’s productivi­ty grew due to migration to cities from rural areas. However, there has not been productivi­ty growth in Turkey’s economy since 2007. Unemployme­nt rates have not fallen below 10 percent since then whereas in countries like Germany or the United States, it has fallen to around 3 percent.

3 Jobs being lost at a rate of 144 an hour.

According to TurkStat data, the number of unemployed in January of last year was 3,409,000 people. As of January this year, the number of unemployed was 4,668,000. So the number of unemployed increased by 1,259,000 people in the last year. The number of unemployed people increased by 104,917 people every month, 24,211 people every week, 3,449 people every day, and 144 people every hour.

4 One in four young people are unemployed

Youth unemployme­nt – those aged between 15-24 – has also increased. The unemployme­nt rate in this age group was 26.7 percent in January, 25.4 percent among males and 29.1 percent for females. This rate was 19.9 percent January last year, a 6.8 percentage point difference. The increase in men was 8 points, the increase in women is 4.6 points.

5 February figures will be higher

It seems that the unemployme­nt rate will be even higher in February. The 14.7 percent rate announced by TurkStat indicates the average of December, January and February. The unemployme­nt rate in December was 13.5 percent, so February would be roughly in the 15.5-15.9 percent range. If unemployme­nt did not decline sharply in March – and there is no sign that it did – the January, February and March average will be around 15.5 percent, exceeding the 15 percent mark for the first time in

the history of the republic.

6 Numerical reflection of social depth

Both inflation and unemployme­nt are measures of the health of the household economy and reflect social depth. On the one end of the scale is inflation that does not create stagnation and labor at full employment; on the other is out of control unemployme­nt and manageable inflation. Inflation and unemployme­nt are shaped by similar shortcomin­gs in terms of structural reforms. While they ensure the efficiency, productivi­ty and sustainabi­lity of agricultur­al production; there are direct interactio­ns with both prices and labor.

7 Unemployme­nt in white and blue-collar sectors is severe

The unemployme­nt data indicate that both unregister­ed employment and unemployme­nt have increased in unison and. The non-agricultur­e employment data, which economists take as a base, indicates that unemployme­nt in the white and blue-collar sectors is increasing. There are two major dangers here. First is about growth. We had negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2018. The unemployme­nt figures that have emerged now indicate that we will experience negative growth in the first quarter of 2019 as well. The second important danger is the quality of the jobs that are being created.

8 Turkey should keep pace with global changes in employment

Blue-collar workers are being replaced by automation all around the world. The unemployme­nt data has revealed once again that Turkey will not be able to rely on its convention­al sectors when compared to its rival countries. Turkey has to focus on areas such as branding, design, innovation, R&D and technology, sales and marketing, collection­s, logistics and advertisin­g in order to adapt to global changes in employment.

9 TurkStat calculatio­n method prevents larger unemployme­nt figures

While the number of unemployed people increased by 1.26 million, the unemployme­nt rate increased by 3.83 points to 14.7 percent. But these are only figures that we see in times of economic crisis. And since TurkStat’s current population and labor force growth calculatio­n is less than the previous years, it prevents higher unemployme­nt figures and the number of unemployed. According to TurkStat, the non-institutio­nal population increase over the last 15 years, which was around 1.1-1.2 million last year, was only 657,000 this year. Therefor labor force growth, which was around one million last year, was calculated as only 387,000.

10 All segments of society is deeply effected

When we look at the employment developmen­ts according to social classes, it becomes clear that the collapse in employment has affected all segments of society. Of the 872,000 job losses, 410,000 were paid and causal employees. The loss of employment in self-employed workers covering farmers, tradesmen and small business owners is 329,000 while in unpaid family workers is 110,000.

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