Turkey Plans Monthly Release of Jobless Data in Transparency Bid

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Turkey will begin publishing monthly unemployment data from March and tweak the way it counts the number of jobless, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, as part of a broader effort to restore investor confidence.

Under the current model, jobless figures released each month factor in data from both the month before and after the one being reported. The government statistics agency, Turkstat, will introduce the new series on March 10 when it releases unemployment numbers for January, and will also publish monthly data going back to 2014, the people said, asking not to be named as the information is not public.

Those on leave from their job will be excluded from the unemployment statistic even if they haven’t worked for more than three months, in line with recommendations from the International Labor Organization, according to the people. Other changes being considered include making the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate the headline figure, they said. Turkstat confirmed that a revision to labor data, which will be in line with ILO standards, will take place in March.

The overhaul follows the appointment of veteran official Ahmet Kursad Dosdogru as head of Turkstat, in an effort to shore up confidence in key economic data.

Dosdogru led the creation of advisory boards at the statistics agency to tap the expertise of academics, economists and non-governmental organizations on inflation and unemployment.

He takes over at a time when a new team of economic policymakers roll out market-friendly changes to bolster a currency battered by low interest rates and market restrictions. The lira has rallied more than 20% since the new finance minister and central bank governor took over in November.

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