Ankara says thousands found jobs in November in more faulty data

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) claimed that the unemployed population in Turkey had decreased by thousands from a year ago in November in yet another suspicious data set. Official data's credibility plummeted among the Turkish population during the pandemic, as the Health Ministry released faulty COVID-19 numbers for months.

Duvar English

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) claimed that the number of unemployed workers in Turkey shrunk by 303,000 people in the year preceding November, in yet another set of suspicious data that experts said was not reflective of the reality. 

The Turkish state's credibility about data has dwindled drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Health Ministry reported faulty numbers of patients for months, and TÜİK has manipulated numbers to downplay the economic crisis Turkish people face.

The TÜİK claimed that 303,000 fewer unemployed citizens brought the total number down to 4,005,000 workers in official numbers, which Turkish economists say measure narrowly-defined unemployment, excluding workers who quit the job search out of despair. 

Real unemployment is around 36 percent in Turkey, as opposed to the official 12.9 percent that Ankara reports, Turkish economist Mustafa Sönmez said in a tweet dated Feb. 10.

The narrow unemployment definition includes 4,005,000 workers, but the number of workers who aren't considered unemployed because they stopped looking spiked to 4,832,000, Sönmez noted.

"The real number of unemployed people exceeds 10 million when you add the 1.2 million who have part-time employment," the economist said. 

Meanwhile, Turkish economist Veysel Ulusoy noted the inconsistency in the picture of the country depicted by the data and the reality of the workforce. 

"If business owners are struggling and households lack income, but the unemployment rate remains flat, it should be said that there's an inconsistency in the data. There's inconsistency in the data!" Ulusoy said in a tweet.

The official data said that non-agricultural unemployment fell by 0.6 percentage points from last year to 14.8 percent, while the employment rate saw a  2.7-percentage-point decrease to 42.9 percent during the same period.

The youth unemployment rate between ages 15-24 was 25.4 percent with a 0.9-percentage-point rise, while the labor force participation rate was reported at 39.6 percent with a 3.6-percentage-point decrease, according to TÜİK data.