This study examines the short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on unemployment in Turkey. The data
used in this study are from monthly insured bulletins of the Social Security Institution (SSI) of Turkey. The
number of active insured employees in NUTS-3 regions of Turkey was analyzed in three periods: (1) in
December 2019, when the first official case of COVID-19 was announced in the world, (2) in March 2020, when
the first official case of COVID-19 was reported in Turkey, and (3) at the end of May 2020, when the
normalization period was declared in Turkey. Both increases and decreases in employment in these three
periods were examined in percentage. This study finds that employment increased by 9.024 from December
2019 to March 2020. However, the number of active insured employees decreased by 657,417 from March to
May 2020 due to the pandemic measures implemented after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Turkey.
After the normalization period was declared in May 2020, the number of active insured employees increased
by 529,249 within one month. This illustrates the negative effects of the COVID-19 measures on employment.
Metropolitan cities are more affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to their different sectorial structures,
their significant economic relations with other cities and the world, and the more stringent COVID-19
measures in these cities than other provinces by covering weekends, which led to higher unemployment in
metropolitan cities. Another important result of this study is that the COVID-19 measures had negative effects
on employment in urban economies, and if these short-term effects continue in the long term, the negative
effects will be greater in urban economies. Therefore, this study concludes that urban economies cannot
sustain these COVID-19 measures any longer.