Budapest, January 28 (MTI) – Hungary’s average unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in October-December, level with the average in September-November, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported on Thursday.

The unemployment rate was down from 7.1 percent in the same period a year earlier.

The number of unemployed averaged 280,700 in October-December and stands at 4,259,300.

The average time spent looking for work was 18.4 months during the period. About 48.3 percent of the unemployed had been seeking a job for one year or more.

There were 2,987,900 economically inactive Hungarians — those neither employed nor seeking work — during the period, down from 3,098,900 a year earlier. At the same time, the activity rate rose to 60.3 percent from 59.0 percent.

The data are calculated in line with International Labour Organisation standards and include people with all forms of employment contracts who have worked more than one hour a week during the period or are on sick leave or paid absence. The data also include those employed in public work schemes and those working abroad for less than one year.

Gergely Suppan, analyst at Takarekbank, noted that the number of new jobs added to the economy, excluding fostered workers and Hungarians abroad, was up from the previous three-month period. He added that business confidence indicators augur further hiring.

Erste Bank analysts Vivien Barczel and Gergely Urmossy said the unemployment rate could drop to 6.5pc this year from 6.8pc in 2015.

The green opposition LMP said in reaction to the report that “growing figures on paper” seem to be more important for the government than job creation.

LMP co-leader Bernadett Szel said that the number of people employed in public works schemes had reached a record number last year.

“Orban’s work-based society showed its real face in 2015: the government does not care if you can make a living; the sole purpose is to produce statistics, indicating a growing employment rate,” Szel said. Szel insisted that maintaining fostered employment was a policy in “the wrong direction”, with hundreds of thousands of people earning below the poverty line.


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