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Construction workers on the up as Turkey rebuilds

Nearly $80 million will be used for earthquake recovery and reconstruction efforts in southeast Turkey Reuters/Maxim Shemetov
Nearly $80 million will be used for earthquake recovery and reconstruction efforts in southeast Turkey
  • 155,159 construction workers took up roles in April
  • Manufacturing sector also sees rise in staff and orders
  • Real estate workforce up 9.5% despite falling house sales

The number of construction workers in Turkey has risen 11 percent year-on-year to over 1.5 million in April, as the country rebuilds from the devastating earthquakes in February that killed 50,000 people.

The disaster caused $34 billion worth of damage.

Latest data from the Turkish Statistical Institute, reported this week, shows that the number of workers employed in construction and trade services rose 3.7 percent year-on-year, reaching 15,516,688 in April.

On a sector by sector basis, manufacturers increased 0.9 percent to 4.6 million, while those in the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning sector rose 8.7 percent to 134,306.

This was echoed in the latest Istanbul Chamber of Industry Turkey manufacturing index for May, which was published by S&P Global in early June. It found that respondents reported a recovery in the sector, as new orders increased and staffing levels rose.

“The gradual recovery of the Turkish manufacturing sector, both from February’s earthquake and the lingering disruption caused by the pandemic, remained on track in May,” said Andrew Harker, economics director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“Helping firms respond to greater new business volumes was a renewed increase in employment as firms were able to make progress on building up workforce numbers,” he added.

The construction sector added 155,159 extra workers in April, an increase of 11.3 percent from 2022.

The trade and services industry rose 4.1 percent year-on-year to 8 million workers.

The strongest performing trade services sector was real estate, which added 10,000 new workers in April, reaching 115,227, an increase of 9.5 percent.

This was despite the number of house sales decreasing 16.3 percent year-on-year during the first five months of this year.

The World Bank reported in February that the two major earthquakes which hit Turkey on February 6 had caused $34.2 billion worth of damage.

The bank estimated that the earthquakes would knock at least one percentage point off Turkey’s GDP growth. It was estimated to be between 3.5 and 4 percent for 2023.

The UN Development Programme put the cost even higher, estimating it would exceed $100 billion.