Research Brief

The impact of the pandemic on employment in Turkey: What would have happened without COVID-19?

How many people would have been working in Turkey had not the pandemic arrived is a simple question to ask but a hard one to answer. This research brief proposes the creation of a counterfactual (a hypothetical scenario representing Turkey without COVID19) using an econometric model. This model uses the month of the year as well as historical data on several macroeconomic indicators to predict the prevailing employment level had not the pandemic hit Turkey in 2020. The difference between actual employment levels and the ones forecasted in the scenario without pandemic are then calculated. This type of analysis is carried out for 29 groups of workers a monthly basis from February to August using monthly data from Turkstat.

The idea behind analyzing 29 different groups of workers is to go beyond overall employment levels and find which workers were hit harder by the pandemic. This brief finds that formality (registration with the Social Security Institute) plays a key role in explaining employment losses. On top of that, young people and especially young women seem to be among the ones more at risk of suffering long-term employment losses. Last but not least, economic activities tied to high informality levels or face to face interactions such as the construction sector, hospitality or low skilled personal services have also suffered significant employment losses between February to August.