UPDATES WITH COMMENTS FROM ANALYSTS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's unemployment rate stood at 10.3 percent in November 2017, falling 1.8 percentage points on a yearly basis, the country's statistical authority said on Thursday.
TurkStat stated that the number of unemployed persons age 15 and over – 3.27 million last November -- decreased by 440,000 year-on-year.
"In the same period, non-agricultural unemployment rate occurred as 12.2 percent with a 2.1 percentage points decrease," the institute said.
"While the youth unemployment rate including persons aged 15-24 was 19.3 percent with a 3.3 percentage point decrease, the unemployment rate for persons aged 15-64 occurred as 10.5 percent with a 1.8 percentage point decrease," it added.
The number of people employed rose by nearly 1.5 million in the same period, moving the employment rate to 47.3 percent with a 1.5 percentage point annual increase, the statement noted
For the distribution of employment by sector, 18.6 percent were employed in agriculture, 19.2 percent in industry, 7.6 percent in construction, and 54.6 percent in services, TurkStat said.
The institute noted that the labour force participation rate (LFPR) was 52.8 percent, up 0.7 percentage points over the same period in 2016.
LFPR for males was 72.1 percent, up 0.2 percentage points, and the rate for females was 33.8 percent, up 1.1 percentage point compared with the same period of the previous year, it said.
The rate of unregistered employment came in at 33.6 percent, up 0.3 percentage points from the same month in 2016, TurkStat added.
"Although limited increases in the unemployment rate were seen in the same periods of past years with seasonal effects, the November figure remained unchanged at 10.3 percent in line with market expectations," Erol Gurcan, investment advisory manager at Gedik Investment, told Anadolu Agency.
The country's annual unemployment rate was 10.3 percent in October 2017, down 1.5 percentage points from the same month in the previous year.
"The positive contribution came from the continuing recovery tendency in economic activities in the last quarter of 2017 and measures taken to support creating new jobs from the beginning of last year," Gurcan said.
"The overall improvement in employment will continue moving forward," he said. "We estimate that the unemployment rate will be around 10.3 percent or 10.4 percent for December 2017, and the average unemployment rate for the whole year will be 10.9 percent."
Last year, the lowest unemployment rate was seen in May and June with 10.2 percent. Over the past five years, the highest unemployment rate was 13 percent in January 2017, while the lowest was seen in June 2013.
"If the recovery in economic activities is maintained, it is likely that the average unemployment rate this year will be between 9.7 percent and 10.3 percent," Gurcan added.
KapitalFX analyst Enver Erkan also told Anadolu Agency that the November figure was parallel or better than forecasts since last August, "especially in a period when the outcome could move upwards through seasonal effects."
"When we observe the non-agriculture employment side, we see a significant increase, which is a good point for the Turkish economy."
"The data indicates that the Turkish economy created a significant number of new jobs," he said. "While the labor force grows, the unemployment rate goes down slowly."
"GDP growth is high and continues to be strong in January through leading indicators," Erkan said, adding that labor market outlook seems positive as supportive measures are set to be continued.
Turkey's economy expanded 5.3 percent in the first quarter and 5.4 percent in the second quarter of 2017.
In the third quarter, Turkey’s economy became the fastest-growing among G20 countries, showing double-digit (11.1 percent) growth performance.
As noted in Turkey's medium-term economic program, the targeted annual unemployment rate at the end of 2017 is 10.8 percent, 10.5 percent for this year, 9.9 percent in 2019 and 9.6 percent in 2020.