Hungary’s three-month rolling average jobless rate was 3.4% in March-May, edging down from 3.5% in the previous three-month period and down from 3.7% twelve months earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said. The rate covers unemployment among 15-74 year-olds. In absolute terms, there were 160,400 unemployed, 2,000 fewer than in the previous period and down 10,300 from a year earlier. Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 13.9 months on average looking for employment during the period, and 36.7% of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or longer. The number of employed stood at 4,500,400 among 15-74-year-olds, 43,300 or 1.0 percent more than in the same period a year earlier. The employment rate was 60.7 percent, up 0.8 of a percentage point. The number of employed included 113,600 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 115,500 working abroad. The number of those employed on the domestic primary labour market rose 2.0% from a year earlier to 4,271,200, while the number of fostered workers dropped 29.7%. The number of those working abroad was up 7.0%. 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, the finance minister said the unemployment rate was at its lowest point since Hungary’s democratic transition in 1989-90. Mihály Varga told public news channel M1 that the number of people in employment has increased by 800,000 since 2010. He said that though the decline of the unemployment rate was slowing, the government hoped unemployment had not yet reached its low point. Varga attributed the falling unemployment rate partly to the government’s job protection action plan, which he said had proven effective in recent years. “So the good economic situation backed up by the government’s economic policy measures have resulted in Hungary registering the fourth best unemployment figure in the European Union,” the minister said.