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