Hungary’s rolling average three-month jobless rate was 3.7 percent in August-October, down from 3.8 percent in the previous period, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday.
The rate covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74.
In absolute terms, there were 172,900 unemployed in Hungary in August-October, 5,300 fewer than in July-September and 10,600 fewer than in the same period a year earlier.
The number of employed Hungarians during the period stood at 4,502,100, up 15,300 from the previous three-month period and up 57,000 compared to one year earlier.
The employment rate was 60.6 percent, slightly up from 60.4 percent in the previous period and up from 59.7 percent from a year earlier.
The number of employed included 132,800 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 108,000 working abroad. The number of those employed on the domestic primary labour market rose 2.6 percent from a year earlier to 4,261,300, while the number of fostered workers dropped 28.8 percent.
The number of those working abroad was up 2.1 percent.
Employment in Hungary has reached a record high while the jobless rate has fallen to a historical low, and the trend will continue to grow due to new investments, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said in response to the data, in an interview to public television’s current affairs channel M1.
The minister said that taking into account the number of public works employees, the unemployed and inactive workers, altogether there are 360,000 people making up Hungary’s labour reserves, which means the country is very close to achieving full employment.
Varga noted that whereas in 2010 the employment rate stood at 56 percent, this ratio has now risen to 69.8 percent.
Also, he pointed to KSH data showing that the number of employees on public works schemes has decreased by 54,000 in a single year.
He also referred to a package of proposals approved by the National Competitiveness Council on Monday, to be discussed by the cabinet on Wednesday, saying that a complex programme has been formulated which would determine the country’s economic convergence over the next 3-4 years.
A statement by the finance ministry said that the increase in the number of employees mainly was due to the expansion of the private sector, where the number of employees grew by an annual 109,000.
ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz said Hungary has “reached full employment” based on the fact that the jobless rate has been stable since January, “if we account for seasonal effects, which means that the structural state of the domestic labour market leaves no further room for improvement.”
Unemployment rate is likely to be 3.6 percent at the end of the year.
Takarékbank analyst András Horváth said there is still opportunity for the employment rate to grow by 4-5 percentage points among the ideally aged working population (25-54-year-olds). Based on the number of active workers, this could still provide workers for 250,000-300,000 unfilled jobs, “so it is premature to talk about full employment”.
K and H Bank chief analyst Dávid Németh said structural changes were needed for further improvements in employment. Fostered workers could be redirected into sectors struggling with workforce shortage following training and education programmes, he said.