Turkish unemployment rises to 13.9% as recession still weighs

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(Reuters) – Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 13.9% in the June-Aug period, while the seasonally adjusted rate hit its highest on record, according to official data on Tuesday that suggested workers are feeling the pinch from a recession that appeared to be easing.

Turkey’s week-long military incursion into northeastern Syria may lead to repercussions that hit its economy and keep unemployment lofty. On Monday, Washington applied sanctions on some Turkish ministries and government officials.

A currency crisis last year sent Turkish unemployment to a near-decade high of 14.7% in the January and February periods.

At 13.9%, unemployment was up 3.1 percentage points in the June-Aug period compared to a year ago, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute. It stood at 13.0% in the May-July period.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 14.3%, its highest level in the institute’s data going back to 2005, and up from 14.0% in the previous period.

The non-agricultural unemployment rate rose to 16.5% from 15.3% a month earlier, the data showed, while youth unemployment was up 7.2 percentage points to 27.1%.

In a three-year economic programme that Ankara announced last month, unemployment is seen at 12.9% by year end and down to 11.8% by the end of 2020.

Turkey’s economy economic activity slowed in the wake of the crisis that saw the lira lose nearly 30% last year and led to year-on-year economic contractions in the last three quarters.

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