Turkish labor minister sees jobless rate falling after 13 percent peak

The Turkish unemployment rate of 13 percent registered in the December-February period will be a peak and will fall to around 9.5 percent by the end of 2017 and below 8 percent in 2018, Labor Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has claimed.  

In an interview with Reuters late on April 18, Müezzinoğlu said 802,856 jobs had been created so far this year as a government employment program takes effect, aiming to create a total of two million jobs by the end of the year. 

The whopping 13 percent unemployment in January, which covered the December-February period, was “definitely a peak point,” he claimed. 

“Data in our hands show that there will be significant decreases in the unemployment rate even by March and April … We will see the rate decline below 11 percent,” Müezzinoğlu said. 

“Thanks to new local and foreign investments, we will see the unemployment rate decline below 8 percent,” he added.  

Close to a quarter of Turkey’s youth did not have a job in January, according to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) released on April 17. 

Youth unemployment jumped 5.3 percentage points year on year in January to 24.5 percent overall, according to TÜİK.

Overall, Turkey’s unemployment rate jumped to 13 percent in the month, registering a 1.9 year-on-year increase, the highest since February 2010.

The government plans to ease the rise in unemployment rate through a campaign to boost employment, which was officially launched in February aiming to create at least 1.5 million new jobs. 

“We are in the middle of a period when the demand for employment is rising, especially in agricultural and services sectors. We will even manage to surpass our employment target by creating around 2 million new jobs by the end of the year,” Müezzinoğlu said.

He also noted that the 802,856 new jobs created since the beginning the year was “above our expectations.” 

“We believe that this figure will hit 1 million by May,” he added. 

Müezzinoğlu also vowed that the government would focus on making reforms in the post-referendum process, with one of these reforms being about severance payments.

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