Turkish unemployment dipped to lowest since 2018

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Turkish unemployment dipped to 12.7% in the September period as the economy heated up between the first and second coronavirus waves, according to data on Thursday that also showed record levels of discouragement among workers.

The jobless rate was the lowest since the end of 2018 when a currency crisis tipped the economy into recession. Unemployment stood at 13.2% a month earlier and was 13.8% a year earlier, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

The economy rebounded sharply from a 10% contraction in the second quarter, though the pandemic still weighs on workers who have been kept on payrolls by a ban on layoffs. Fallout from a new coronavirus surge in recent weeks has again slowed growth.

While the participation rate held steady above 50% in the August-October period, those who were too discouraged to look for work surged to 1.4 million, up 71,000 from a month ago and more than twice that of last year.

Employers and officials expect a jump in unemployment once the government lifts the layoff ban, which has been extended until mid-2021.

Total employment in the latest period was 27.7 million, down about 733,000 from a year ago.

Main Photo: A tourist couple enjoy their weekend in front of the Hagia Sophia Mosque during weekend lockdown in Istanbul, Turkey. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

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