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Hungary Jobless Rate Edges Down to 3.3 Percent

Fanni Kaszás 2019.07.29.

Hungary’s three-month rolling average jobless rate reached 3.3 percent in April-June, edging down from 3.4 percent in the previous three-month period and down from 3.6 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, 155,500 Hungarians were unemployed, 4,900 fewer than in the previous period and down 9,700 from a year earlier.

The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group stood at 10.8 percent, up 1.3 percentage points compared to the base period. The unemployed in this age group account for more than one-fifth of all jobless, KSH noted.

Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 14.4 months on average looking for employment during the period, and 35.6 percent of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or longer.

The number of jobholders stood at 4,510,900 among 15- to 74-year-olds, 36,000 or 0.8 percent more than in the same period a year earlier. The employment rate was 60.8 percent, up 0.6 percentage point.

The number of employed included 108,700 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 117,200 working abroad. The number of those employed on the domestic primary labour market rose by 2.0 percent from a year earlier to 4,285,000, while the number of fostered workers dropped by 34.9 percent. The number of those working abroad was up 9.4 percent.

KSH defines “employed” in line with International Labour Organisation standards as anybody who worked one or more hour a week or was temporarily absent from their job during the survey week. The data also include those employed in public work schemes and those working abroad for less than one year.

Commenting on the data, a state secretary of the finance ministry told public news channel M1 that the government’s tax policy enabled companies to raise wages. National and EU investment projects both generate demand for labour, which is the highest in the services sector followed by the processing and construction industries, Sandor Bodo said.

Shortage of qualified labour in some sectors underlines the need for cooperation between state and employers in vocational training, he said

The employment rate is higher among men than women, Bodo said, adding that the latter’s integration into the labour market should be facilitated. He cited family protection measures and raising the number of creche places as examples.

Analyst Péter Virovácz of ING Bank said the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed is again at a new low, mainly on the back of improving employment amongst women. In the second half of the year the unemployment rate could be around 3.4 percent and he does not expect it to fall significantly lower.

Analyst András Horvath of Takarékbank said around 250,000-300,000 jobs could still be filled until the economy reaches full employment, but the remaining labour pool consist of unskilled workers or those who are difficult to employ and some form of policy intervention would be needed to get them to work.