GeriGündem Turkey's unemployment rises to record-high 13.6 pct in December
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Turkey's unemployment rises to record-high 13.6 pct in December

Turkey’s unemployment rate jumped to the record-high of 13.6 percent in the three months through January, official data showed Monday as falling orders from home and abroad sparked job losses in manufacturing. (UPDATED)

The Turkish Statistics Institute said in a statement the rate rose from 10.6 percent in the same period of last year. The jobless rate was 12.3 percent in the period through to December.

 

The unemployment rate, measured on a three-month moving average, stood at 10.6 percent in November-January period in 2007. Unemployment increased by 838,000 people in 2008, with the jobless rate among people aged between 15 and 24 recorded at 25.7 percent, the agency added.

 

Economists say the record-high unemployment rate will make it difficult for the government to take steps demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

 

Turkey’s economy grew 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the slowest in six years. The global crisis has slashed European demand for Turkish-made goods such as cars, leading automotive output to plunge an annual 62 percent in December. The slowdown limits the economy’s ability to absorb the youth who join the workforce every year.

 

UNIONS: RISK FOR SOCIETY

The representatives of labor unions in Turkey said the figures once again showed that unemployment was the biggest problem facing Turkey, posing a threat to society in general.

 

"As the unemployment rate rises,  the problem gets bigger, the distribution of income widens, poverty increases, the youth jobless rate rises and a segment of society gives up looking for work, accepts being jobless as a social status," the board ofthe Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Turk-Is) said in a statement.

 

All these factors pose a great danger to the Turkish economy and social life, the statement added.

 

Salim Uslu, Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-Is), also said the ongoing downturn in economy was widening the unemployment problem each day and called for urgent measures, ANKA reported.

 

"The announced figures once again revealed that unemployment is the first issue on Turkey's agenda," he was quoted as saying, adding that new economic policies which would rapidly increase employment should be launched urgently.

 

Turkey added 91,000 jobs in services, construction and manufacturing in the period from the year earlier, while agricultural jobs rose 202,000, the statistics agency said today. The workforce grew by about 1.1 million from the same period a year earlier, it said.

 

About 20.7 million people were employed in the period, compared with 20.4 million a year earlier, it said.

 

The workforce participation rate, a measure of how many people of working age are employed or are seeking employment, rose to 47.7 percent from 46.2 percent a year earlier, the statistics agency said.

 

GOVT’S PLAN

The Turkish government said the unemployment issue was not only a problem for today and is not something that can be solved immediately, adding however that it has developed a three-phase plan to counter the issue.

 

Improving the education system in the country, giving priority to regional development projects and increasing trade volume based on this development are the components of the plan, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said.

 

The government last week announced three month tax breaks to encourage spending in sectors hit hard by the drop in demand, after it came under fire from business groups and trade unions criticizing that enough was not being done to support companies and protect jobs.

 

 

 

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