Budapest, April 20 (MTI) – The average gross wage in Hungary was 248,262 forints (EUR 801.37) in February, up 5.9 percent from the same month a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday.
Net wage growth outpaced the increase, rising by 7.5 percent to 165,849 forints, because of a one percentage point cut in the personal income tax rate from January.
Calculating with twelve-month inflation of 0.3 percent, real wages rose by 7.2 percent in February.
KSH noted that wages are boosted this year by a 5.7 percent increase in the gross minimum wage, a wage rise for the Armed Forces and a wage supplement paid to social sector employees.
Excluding the 193,600 Hungarians in fostered work programmes, the average gross wage rose by 6.6 percent to 261,455 forints, while net wages increased by 8.2 percent to 173,868 forints.
Full-time fostered workers earned gross 79,059 forints on average during the month, 0.7 percent more than in the same period a year earlier.
Excluding fostered workers, business sector gross wages were up by 5.2 percent in February, including a 5.6 percent rise in regular wages.
Without fostered workers, public sector gross wages rose by 10.2 percent.
January-February gross wages rose by 5.9 percent including fostered workers and were up by 6.4 percent excluding them. Net wages were up by 7.5 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively. Real wages were up by 6.9 percent as consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent.
Excluding fostered workers, business sector gross wages were up by an annual 5.2 percent in January-February, while gross wages in the public sector rose by 10.0 percent. Fostered workers’ wages edged down by 0.2 percent in the period.
Including fostered workers, about 2,954,000 people were employed in Hungary in February, 3.5 percent more than a year earlier. Excluding fostered workers, the number rose by 2.8 percent to 2,760,500.
The number of fostered workers was up by 14.2 percent, with a somewhat slower increase in the public sector where 88 percent of the total are employed.
Excluding fostered workers, 71 percent of the employed worked in the private sector, while 25 percent worked in the public sector and 4 percent at non-profit institutions.
Commenting on KSH’s data, economy ministry state secretary Peter Cseresnyes said both the minimum wage and the so-called guaranteed minimum wage increased significantly this year, by 6.7 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, which he said was the largest minimum wage increase since 2002. He attributed Hungary’s constant real wage growth to wage hikes in the private sector, the government’s tax cuts, the job protection scheme and low inflation.
K and H Bank senior analyst David Nemeth forecast an acceleration in real wage growth thanks to falling inflation, which he noted dropped into negative territory in March. He projected that there could be months when real wages will increase by up to 8 percent.
Erste Bank chief analyst Gergely Urmossy attributed the February wage growth to the stiff labour market, the one percentage point cut in the personal income tax rate, and the increase in the minimum wage.
Gergely Suppan of Takarekbank said delayed consumption, the government’s fiscal correction measures, the conversion of foreign currency retail loans into forints and households’ net worth rising to record levels could lead to household consumption becoming the engine for GDP growth in the coming years.