Budapest, September 27 (MTI) – Hungary’s rolling average three-month jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent in June-August, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Tuesday.
The rate, which covers unemployment in the age group 15-74, was down from 5 percent in May-July and 6.7 percent in the same period a year earlier.
In absolute terms, there were 227,100 unemployed in Hungary in June-August, 900 fewer than in May-July and 76,700 fewer than one year earlier.
Analysts told MTI that the improvements on the labour market indicated a economic recovery but warned that increasing labour shortages would sooner or later become an obstacle to development.
Since 1992, never have there been as many people in work as there are now, Mihály Varga, the economy minister told a news conference, commenting on the latest employment data. Varga said the jobless rate would fall further as companies plan to expand capacity. Meanwhile, the low price of raw materials is helping economic growth and the kick-start to house building is improving the performance of the construction industry. Further, the utilisation of European Union funding is also intensifying, he added.
More and more employers see the labor market as a limiting factor on growth, Varga said, adding that solutions to this problem lie in evening out employment disparities within the country as well as reforms to vocational education and wage hikes.
Gergely Suppan of Takarékbank said the fast rate of increase in employment reflected the growing economy and the pace growth in the second half may quicken. In the next few months, given seasonal effects, the employment number could reach as high as 4.4 million while the jobless rate would further decline, he said. The average jobless rate this year is likely to come in at 5.3 percent from 6.8 percent last year. Next year, it could sink to below 5 percent, he added.
Páter Virovácz of ING Bank said that the combined effects of improvements on the labour market with new investments coming on line meant that the labour shortage would continue to intensify in the next few quarters unless necessary policy action is taken in time.
The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was down 5.4 percentage points in one year at 12.8 percent. Still, the age group accounted for almost one-fifth of all unemployed, KSH noted. The unemployment rate in the 25-54 age group dropped 1.5 percentage point to 4.3 percent and the rate among 55-64-year-olds was down 1.4 percentage point at 4.0 percent.
The average period Hungarians spent looking for work was about 18.6 months. 49.3 percent of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or more.
The number of employed Hungarians during the period stood at 4,386,400, up by 14,500 from May-July and up by 135,500 from a year earlier. The employment rate was 58.4 percent, rising from 58.2 percent in May-July and from 56.4 percent in June-August 2015.
KSH defines “employed” as anybody who worked one or more hour a week or was temporarily absent from their job during the survey week.