Hungary’s three-month rolling average jobless rate was 3.5% in August-October, unchanged from the previous three-month period and down from 3.7% year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said. The rate covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74. In absolute terms, there were 163,600 unemployed, 1,100 more than in the previous period but down 9,300 from a year earlier. Jobless Hungarians spent about 11.2 months on average looking for employment during the period, and 32 % of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or longer. The number of employed stood at 4,520,500 among 15 to 74 year-olds, 18,400 or 0.4% more than in the same period a year earlier. The employment rate was 60.9%, up 0.3 percentage points. The number of employed included 110,800 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 118,700 working abroad. The number of those employed on the domestic primary labour market rose 0.7% from a year earlier to 4,291,000, while the number of fostered workers dropped by 16.6%. The number of those working abroad was up 9.8%.
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.
ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz said the Hungarian labour market was becoming tighter. While large companies lay off people following efficiency improvements, less efficient firms are hiring the laid off employees, keeping unemployment rate steady. Employment is only increasing marginally, but there are some shifts within the labour pool. Unemployment rate is likely to be around 3.5% both this year and next, he said. Takarékbank lead analyst András Horváth said the number of fostered workers was dropping but some of them struggled to find jobs on the primary labour market; probably due to a lack of skills. The employment rate had potential to rise, but this would require net wages to be competitive with wages abroad so that people working abroad return home.