August unemployment 0.4 pct higher at 8.8 percent
The Turkish unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in August, a slight 0.4 point increase over a month ago, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) revealed on Thursday.

The August jobless figures represented a 0.4 percent recovery compared to the same month a year ago. The latest jobless rate was 1.6 percent below the level anticipated for the year-end in the government's Medium-term Economic Program (OVP). On a seasonally adjusted basis the unemployment rate stood at 9.2 percent.

Observers cited a slowdown in domestic demand for the modest increase in unemployment on a month-to-month basis. Turkey's major trade partner, the eurozone, saw its unemployment hit a record high of 11.6 percent in September, official figures showed. According to TurkStat's Household Labor Force report, released on Thursday, the number of unemployed in Turkey decreased by 76,000 to approximately 2.45 million in August over the same month a year ago. The number of employed was 25.3 million in August. The unemployment rate fell by 0.7 points to 10.9 percent in urban areas and increased 0.1 points to 4.8 percent in rural areas in the given month. The TurkStat data suggested that the agricultural workforce dropped by 140,000 people in August compared to a year ago.

The number of those employed in non-agricultural sectors, however, increased by 623,000 in the same period. Of those who were employed in August, 25.9 percent were employed in agriculture, 18.7 percent in industrial, 7.5 in construction and 48 in the service sectors. The highest recovery was seen in the service industry, with a 1.4 percent growth in August over a year ago, while employment in the construction sector contracted by 0.2 percent.

Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan told reporters in Ankara on Thursday that he expected the jobless rate to fall by the end of this year. In a statement challenging the official data, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said the number of people "who gave up looking for jobs" hit 1.94 million, a more than 1 million increase from the figure in 2002, when the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came into power.

In their assessment of the TurkStat jobless data on Monday, Bahçeşehir University's Center for Economic and Social Research (BETAM) recalled that the seasonally adjusted non-agricultural jobless claim in August was 11.4 percent. The center said the slight losses in industrial employment were offset by improvements in the service and construction sectors. "This helped the increase in non-agricultural unemployment to remain low," BETAM said. İnanç Sözer from Odeabank cited a weak domestic demand for the "controlled increase" in August's unemployment figures. Recalling that 404,000 people joined the workforce in the first eight months of 2012, he estimated the end-2013 jobless rate to be 8.6 percent.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-15 18:00:04
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