Budapest, April 28 (MTI) – Hungary’s average unemployment rate was 6.0 percent in January-March, down from 6.1 percent in the previous three-month period, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday.
The unemployment rate was down from 7.8 percent in the same period a year earlier.
The number of unemployed averaged 272,800 in January-March. The number of employed stood at 4,262,200.
Excluding Hungarians in fostered work programmes and those working abroad, 98,000 jobs were added during the period, KSH noted. The number of fostered workers rose by 32,000 and those working abroad increased by 15,000.
The average time spent looking for work was 18.8 months during the period. About 48.9 percent of the unemployed had been seeking a job for one year or more.
There were 2,980,600 economically inactive Hungarians — those neither employed nor seeking work — during the period, down from 3,083,100 a year earlier. At the same time, the activity rate rose to 60.3 percent from 59.2 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.
Economy Minister Mihály Varga said another positive takeaway from the rise in jobs was that both the youth and women’s employment rates were up. The number of female workers in the economy rose by 54,000 over the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2015, while youth unemployment dropped to 14 percent, he said. The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age bracket was around 30 percent five years ago. He said the government aims to bring fostered workers back to the primary labour market through training programmes.
Takarékbank analyst András Oszlay said the unemployment rate could continue to decline over the coming months as a result of seasonal job growth. He said the unemployment rate could drop to 5.5 percent by the middle of the summer before creeping back up to near 6 percent towards the end of the year.
Erste Bank senior analyst Gergely Urmossy also projected a falling unemployment rate for the months ahead, forecasting an average annual rate of 5.9 percent compared to last year’s 6.8 percent.