Budapest, May 26 (MTI) – Hungary’s average unemployment rate among people aged 15-74 was 5.8 percent in February-April, down from 6.0 percent in the previous three-month period, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday.
The unemployment rate was down from 7.6 percent in the same period a year earlier.
The number of unemployed averaged 264,900 in February-April. The number of employed, people who worked for at least one hour during the week a labour survey is conducted, stood at 4,293,600.
The average time spent looking for work was 18.4 months during the period. About 48.8 percent of the unemployed had been seeking a job for one year or more.
There were 2,952,200 economically inactive Hungarians — those neither employed nor seeking work — during the period, down from 3,064,900 a year earlier. At the same time, the activity rate rose to 60.7 percent from 59.4 percent.
Excluding Hungarians in fostered work programmes and those working abroad, 111,000 jobs were added during the period, KSH noted. The number of fostered workers rose 28,000 and those working abroad increased by 13,000.
Commenting on the data, the economy ministry said that more than 4 million people have been working for over two years now. State secretary Péter Cseresnyés said total employment increased by 584,000 since 2010. The employment rate was 54.6 percent in 2010 but has exceeded the 65 percent mark this year, he said. The government, like the European Union, targets a 75 percent employment rate. Most employment gains this year have been made in the processing industry, but the IT, tourism and agriculture sectors also added a considerable amount of jobs, Cseresnyés said.
Analyst Vivien Barczel of Erste Bank said she expects the downward trend of the jobless rate to continue this year, forecasting 5.8 percent unemployment for the full year compared to 6.8 percent in 2015.
András Oszlay of Takarékbank noted that the labour market is the tightest since 2004, which in some sectors actually means a labour shortage. By mid-summer, when there are more seasonal jobs, the unemployment rate could drop below 5.5 percent, reaching 5.8 percent for the full year, he added.