Hungary’s jobless rate was 4.4% in April, climbing 0.4 percentage point from the previous month as well as from the same month a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said. The rate covers unemployment among people between the ages of 15 and 74. In absolute terms, there were 211,100 unemployed, up 17,500 from the previous month and 24,000 more than a year earlier. The monthly employment rate for the 15-74 age group fell to 61.9% in April, edging down 0.7 percentage point from a month earlier. In absolute terms, there were 4,559,300 employed, 56,700 fewer than a month earlier, but up 36,200 from twelve months earlier.
Commenting on the data, Sándor Bodó, state secretary for employment policy at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM), said that thanks to the government’s economic protection measures, Hungary registered the European Union’s fourth lowest unemployment rate in April. Bodó told public television channel M1 that the April data reflected the period before the economy had reopened. The services sector is showing an increasingly high demand for labour, he said, adding that this meant that employment was likely to keep rising. However, with the number of employed being down 66,000 compared with December 2019, he said, it was clear that the economy needed to add at least this many jobs in the coming months. He highlighted the IT, financial, technology, agriculture and construction sectors as the strongest industries in terms of employment, adding that the tourism and catering sectors were still in need of government support.
Takarékbank analyst András Horváth said the rise in unemployment in April was on the back of the impact of the third wave of the pandemic and an improvement could be expected in the coming months as the economy reopens. He put the unemployment rate for the full year at under 4%. ING Bank analyst Péter Virovácz said layoffs that businesses made as the third wave hit may have now entered the statistics. The gradual easing of pandemic restrictions from April is expected to show up in employment indicators in the coming months, he added.