Turkish unemployment rate falls to 9.8%

July 19, 2007 - 0:0

ANKARA (AFP) -- Turkey's estimated unemployment rate eased to 9.8 percent in the three months to the end of May from 9.9 percent in the same period last year, the State Statistics Institute said.

A survey based on interviews with about 90,000 people showed the number of jobless to have increased by 14,000 to 2,450,000. The institute had put the unemployment rate at 10.4 percent in the three months to the end of April. The unemployment rate was estimated at 9.9 percent for the whole of 2006, down from 10.3 percent in 2005. High unemployment remains a major challenge for Turkey despite several years of strong growth. To determine the jobless rate, the statistics institute surveys households in different regions of the country and uses the results to make a nationwide three-month projection. The figures provide the only unemployment data in Turkey, but experts say they do not reflect the overall picture because they exclude undeclared or hidden unemployment, or the employment of educated, qualified people in menial, unqualified jobs. However, standard unemployment data in industrialized countries covers only people registered as unemployed and available for work. Unemployment and huge unregistered activity are areas the International Monetary Fund wants Turkey to address in order to consolidate its recovery from a severe economic crisis in 2001