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KSH: Poverty Risks And Jobless Rate Continue To Fall In Hungary

Tamás Székely 2014.11.28.

Hungarians facing risks of poverty or social exclusion was 31.1% in 2013, 2.4 percentage points lower than a year earlier, according to the Central Statistical Office (KSH). The income gap grew slightly, but those differences are still much below the European average, the KSH said. In 2013, 14.6% of the total population were poor in terms of their relative income, 23.9% were seriously deprived and 9.2% lived in low work intensity households, the study said. In 2013, people earned 1.3 million forints per capita, before tax, 4.3% on top of the previous year. Household consumption stayed more or less at 2012 levels, with utility bills and household costs accounting for a quarter of household spending. Disposable income came to 40%.

Meanwhile the three-month rolling jobless rate in Hungary was 7.1% in August-October, down from 7.4% in July-September, the KSH said as well. This compares with 9.8 % August-October a year earlier. The number of unemployed averaged at 319,400 in August-October. The figure was down 13,200 from the previous three-month period and down 114,300 from the same period a year earlier, KSH said.  Analyst say the improvement is positive but fostered job schemes continued to make a substantial contribution. Raising the number of fostered workers by another 50,000 next year could trigger wage inflation, analyst András Balatoni of ING Bank said, warning against keeping labour demand artificially high at this phase in the economic cycle.

Commenting on the data, the economy minister said economic growth of the recent period and lower taxes on labour had sown the seeds of higher employment. Consequently, the number of employed will soon reach 4.2 million, Mihály Varga insisted, noting at the same time a major rise in the employment of women (currently 1.9 million). Despite the favourable data released by KSH, opposition parties continues to criticize harshly the government’s social policy. Socialist MP Lajos Korózs insisted that poverty had dramatically increased in Hungary, “no matter how the Orbán government lies”. Citing the KSH study, he said that there was a sixteen-fold difference between the incomes of the richest and the poorest wage-earners, and the income of the 2 million people with the lowest wages had continuously dropped over the past four years.

via hungarymatters.hu photo: Gizella Nyírő – Bihari Hírlap / hajdupress.com