Hungary’s three-month rolling average jobless rate reached 3.6 percent in January-March, unchanged from the previous three-month period and edging down from 3.9 percent twelve months earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Monday.
The rate covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74.
In absolute terms, there were 165,700 unemployed, 2,500 fewer than in the previous period and down 12,200 from a year earlier.
The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group stood at 11.2 percent. The unemployed in this age group account for more than one-fifth of all jobless, KSH noted.
Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 13.9 months on average looking for employment during the period, and 37.6 percent of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or longer.
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The number of employed stood at 4,497,100 among 15- to 74-year-olds, 61,900 more than in the same period a year earlier. The employment rate was 60.6 percent, up 1.0 percentage point.
The number of employed included 121,000 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 108,900 working abroad. The number of those employed on the domestic primary labour market rose by 2.1 percent from a year earlier to 4,267,200, while the number of fostered workers dropped by 23.6 percent. The number of those working abroad was up by 12.8 percent.
ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz said the Hungarian economy has reached full employment given its current labour market structure. Without a significant labour market reform the unemployment rate could remain around 3.6 percent for the rest of the year.
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Takarékbank analyst András Horváth said the employment rate could be improved by around 4 percentage points based on the performance of more competitive EU member states. However, the available labour force is low-skilled and government intervention and more training would be needed for this improvement.
Erste Bank analyst Orsolya Nyeste companies have a high demand for workers, more people are being employed on the primary labour market which is reflected in the dropping number of fostered workers.