Budapest, January 5 (MTI) – Hungary’s rolling average three-month jobless rate reached 4.5 percent in September-November, dropping from 4.7 percent in the previous month and 6.2 percent in the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday.
The rate covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74.
In absolute terms, there were 207,500 unemployed in Hungary in September-November, 11,800 fewer than in August-October and 76,300 fewer than in the same period a year earlier.
The unemployment rate among 15- to 24-year-olds stood at 11.8 percent, down 3.3 percentage points from a year earlier. Still, the age group accounted for about one-fifth of all unemployed, KSH said.
Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 18.1 months on average looking for employment during the period. Just over 46 percent of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or more.
The number of employed Hungarians during the period stood at 4,414,400, up 10,200 from the previous month and 141,700 more than one year earlier. The employment rate edged up to 58.8 percent.
The number of employed included 220,800 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 117,600 working abroad.
KSH defines “employed” as anybody who worked one or more hour a week or was temporarily absent from their job during the survey week.
Commenting on the data, economy ministry state secretary Péter Cseresnyés said the number of unemployed had never been this low in Hungary since the regime change. Most of the jobs added since 2010 have been created in the private sector, Cseresnyés told a press conference. He said Hungary now had the third lowest unemployment rate in the European Union behind Germany and the Czech Republic. Cseresnyés attributed Hungary’s improving labour market numbers to the government’s job creation policies, including the job protection scheme, which he said supported the employment of 920,000 people last year.
Takarékbank analyst Gergely Suppán noted that the number of employed Hungarians now stands at a high not seen since Hungary’s transition to a market economy. The fresh data show all of Hungary’s main business sectors added jobs during the period, he added.
ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz said employment is expected to improve in the short term, although supply could tighten further. Hungary’s relatively low labour market participation rate could provide some slack, he added.