Budapest, August 27 (MTI) – The three-month rolling unemployment rate in Hungary was 7.9 percent in May-July, down from 8 percent in April-June, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said today.
The jobless rate was 10.1 percent in the same period a year earlier.
The number of unemployed averaged 354,100 in May-July. The figure was down from 358,900 in March-May and down from 445,800 in the same period a year earlier.
Fully 49.5 percent of the jobless had been seeking work for one year or more. The average time spent looking for work was 18.7 months.
The employment rate averaged 54.3 percent in May-July, up from 54.2 percent in April-June.
Sandor Czomba, the economy ministry’s state secretary in charge of the labour market, told MTI that he attributed most of the improvement to increased employment in the private sector. He said that the number of fostered workers or immigrants had not increased.
Czomba said that the problem of youth unemployment had also eased, with 257,000 people under 24 currently working, 32,000 more than last year.
The state secretary referred to the government’s employment programmes, saying their role in boosting employment had been “spectacular”. The government aims to keep the number of the employed above 4 million in the long run and reduce the jobless number below 300,000, Czomba said. He added that the private sector, rather than public works schemes, should gradually become the driving force behind employment.
Analysts polled by MTI said employment was likely to continue growing in the remainder of the year and the private sector’s contribution to the index was improving.
Senior analyst Gergely Gabler of Erste Bank said labour market trends are improving even adjusted after the effects of fostered jobs programmes. The business sector shows considerable improvement, led by the vehicle manufacturing segment, with several car factories having introduced a third shift.
Senior analyst Andras Balatoni of ING Bank noted that economic growth was solid in the first half, which suggests employment trends could continue to improve in the coming months.