ECONOMY

Turk joblessness high despite rapid growth

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s average unemployment rate in the three months from February to April stood at 10.9 percent, the State Statistics Institute (DIE) said yesterday. It gave no corresponding figure for the same period last year. In the January-March period, average unemployment stood at 11.7 percent. The DIE has changed its methods of data calculation as part of efforts to move in line with European Union standards. In April, it began giving data for the most recent three-month period. Previously, it had announced quarterly data. The DIE figures showed Turkey’s work force in March totaled 23.8 million, of whom 21.1 million were actually in jobs, up from 20.8 million in February. The number of unemployed totaled 2.59 million, down from 2.75 million in February. Unemployment has remained high in Turkey despite a strong economic recovery from a 2001 financial crisis and subsequent recession in which the economy shrank some 10 percent and more than a million people lost their jobs. Analysts say it is difficult to calculate the actual level of unemployment in Turkey due to uncertainty about the size of the unofficial economy. Unemployment stood at 10.3 percent in 2004, against 10.5 percent the previous year.