Turkish unemployment edged up near 13% in November

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ISTANBUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Turkey’s unemployment ticked up to 12.9% in the November period, from 12.7% the previous month, and participation slipped to mid-2020 levels as a second wave of coronavirus-related curbs started to hit businesses, data showed on Wednesday.

The jobless rate was 13.3% in the same period in 2019. Throughout 2020, unemployment was held down by a ban on layoffs meant to ease fallout from the pandemic, but that economists and businesses say has delayed sharp job losses.

The labour force participation rate in the latest October-December period was 49.3%, down from 50.0% a month earlier, the Turkish Statistical Institute said. Total employment was 27.1 million, down by more than 1 million from a year earlier.

The government’s COVID-19 support partially covered lost wages of formal workers and funded some 2 million households. The economy has rebounded strongly from a near 10% contraction in the second quarter.

But the service sector has been squeezed again by the closing of restaurant dining as virus cases rose in recent months. Non-agricultural unemployment was 14.8% in the November period, the data showed.

Youth joblessness rose to 25.4% from 24.5% a year ago. Surveys show that unemployment, financial worries and politics have soured many youth on the country, including one showing 76% of those aged 18-29 wanted to emigrate.

Reflecting the pandemic’s toll on all workers, the number of those too discouraged to seek employment rose to a new record of some 1.7 million, well over double the year-earlier level. (Reporting by Berna Suleymanoglu and Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans and Jonathan Spicer)

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