Quarterly Labor Market Outlook : 2021 Q3


Seyfettin Gürsel, Hamza Mutluay, Mehmet Cem Şahin

As of 2021, Turkstat decided to publish labor market statistics of the respective month and they published the data of January 2021 on March 10, 2021. Turkstat started publishing individual monthly labor market estimates instead of 3-month moving average estimates with the new revision. Previously, it took about 70 days to announce the basic labor market estimates of the reference month; however, it takes about 40 days since 2021. The shortening of the delay in the publication of the estimates is undoubtedly beneficial to follow the current trends in the labor market in a timely manner. Nevertheless, Turkstat also publishes the 3-month labor market figures since the sample size used for calculating the monthly estimates fails to be sufficient for some labor market indicators. The 3-month labor market statistics extends their coverage on the education levels and occupational breakdowns as well as employment at work and weekly working hours data.

Although the new publication policy is an important step to reach the up-to-date labor market statistics concurrently, the new monthly estimates are more volatile than 3-month moving average estimates as they contain fewer observations. High volatility in both the raw and the seasonally adjusted data of the sectorial employment not only raises concerns about the quality of the estimates but also makes the estimates harder to interpret.

In fact, according to the seasonally adjusted data in 2021, in services sector the employment level increased by 480 thousand in July, decreased by 341 thousand in August, and increased by 175 thousand in September MoM. Similarly, in industrial sector, the employment level decreased by 278 thousand, and increased by 221 thousand and 218 thousand in August and September MoM, respectively. It is not possible to totally attribute the high swings in the employment levels in the subsequent months to labor market dynamics. The erratic behavior of the employment level is not specific to the services and the industrial sectors. The employment levels of both the agricultural and the construction sector are also volatile. Nevertheless, the high volatility of the employment levels is not present in the 3-month monthly average estimates. For this reason, Betam decided to evaluate the 3-month estimates in “Quarter on Quarter Labor Market Outlook” in addition to the monthly notes. We waited for the data of Q3 to start. From now on, we aim to publish quarterly research notes that contain the unemployment rates based on the hours-worked, youth unemployment and education levels as well.

doc. QuarterlyLaborMarketOutlook2021Q3

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