By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
Turkey's annual unemployment rate has remained unchanged compared with the previous year at 10.9 percent in 2017, the country's statistical authority announced on Friday.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said the number of unemployed persons aged 15 years and over -- 3.45 million last year -- increased by 124,000, year-on-year.
The unemployment rate was "9.4 percent with 0.2 percentage point decrease for male, 14.1 percent with 0.4 percentage point increase for female", the institute said.
Official data also showed that non-agricultural unemployment rate remained the same as well at 13 percent last year.
While youth unemployment rate, including 15-24 age group was "20.8 percent with 1.2 percentage point increase, unemployment rate for 15-64 age group occurred as 11.1 percent without any change," TurkStat said.
The number of people employed rose by nearly one million in 2017, reaching some 28.2 million people and moving the employment rate to 47.1 percent with a 0.8 percentage point annual increase.
Also, 19.4 percent were employed in agricultural sector, 19.1 percent in industry, 7.4 percent in construction and 54.1 percent in service, TurkStat noted.
TurkStat also said the labor force participation rate (LFPR) was 52.8 percent with a 0.8 percentage point annual hike -- marking 31.6 million people in labor force.
"LFPR was realized as 72.5 percent with 0.5 percentage point increase for male and 33.6 percent for female with 1.1 percentage point increase," the institute added.
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 with 8.1 percent.
As noted in Turkey's medium-term economic program, the targeted annual unemployment rate at the end of 2017 was 10.8 percent, 10.5 percent for this year, 9.9 percent for next year and 9.6 percent in 2020.