Budapest, June 21 (MTI) – The average gross wage in Hungary was 264,471 forints (EUR 845) in April, up by 6.4 percent from the same month a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Tuesday.

Net wage growth outpaced the increase, rising by 8.0 percent to 175,874 forints, because of a one percentage point cut in the personal income tax rate, to 15 percent, from January.

KSH noted that wages were 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 210,300 Hungarians in fostered work programmes, the average gross wage rose by 7.2 percent to 280,040 forints, while net wages increased by 8.8 percent to 186,227 forints.

Full-time fostered workers earned gross 79,828 forints on average in April, 3.1 percent less than a year earlier.

Including fostered workers, about 2,987,200 people were employed in positions requiring them to work at least 60 hours a month on average in Hungary in April, 3.9 percent more than a year earlier. Excluding fostered workers, the number rose by 3.3 percent to 2,776,900. The number of fostered workers was up by 13.6 percent.

The total number of employed, which includes Hungarians who worked for at least one hour during the week a labour survey is conducted, averaged 4,293,600 in the 15-74-year age group in February-April.

Takarékbank analyst Gergely Suppán projected an average gross wage increase of 5.4 percent for the whole year, which he said could translate to a 7 percent net increase as a result of the changes in the tax plan. Consumption deferred in the past few years, the conversion of FX household loans into forint and households’ net financial assets rising to record levels could lead to household consumption becoming the engine for GDP growth in the coming years, he said.

Erste Bank senior analyst Gergely Urmossy put gross wage growth this year at around 6 percent. Urmossy, too, said household consumption could become the driving force of the economy this year.


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