Unemployment rate falls to lower-than-forecast 11.5 pct in february
Unemployment figures announced by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) yesterday for the month of February indicate that Turkey's unemployment has fallen to 11.5 from 11.9 percent in January. This February figure also represented a 2.9 percentage point decrease in the jobless rate from the same month last year. The pool of unemployed people decreased by 600,000 this February compared to February 2010. Last month, there were slightly more than 2.9 million persons unemployed in Turkey, but the number of employed people had increased to 22.8 million people. The data also indicated that around 31 percent of those seeking jobs during this period did so through personal acquaintances. According to the TurkStat data, 71.8 percent of those employed were male, 59 percent had an education below high-school level, 2.8 percent had another job and 90.4 percent of regular employees worked in permanent jobs. The TurkStat data, referring to information gathered by the Ministry of Finance, stated that total public sector employment was just above 3 million persons in the first quarter of 2011.Poverty reduction in Turkey has been proportional to the country's economic growth. The number of households with a monthly income below the poverty line was 22.4 percent of the entire Turkish population in 2002. The same rate decreased to 14 percent in 2009. Yet in Turkey poverty still remains an important problem needing to be addressed. The current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government says one of its priorities will be an intense program to boost employment, which will be put in place to combat poverty, if it wins a third term in office at the June elections.