Hungary’s rolling average three-month jobless rate reached 3.8 percent in September, edging up from 3.7 percent in the previous month, but falling from 4.1 percent in the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office said on Tuesday.
The rate, which covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74, was close to the average for the previous twelve months.
In absolute terms, there were 178,200 unemployed, 5,100 more than in the previous month, but 10,300 fewer than in the same period a year earlier.
The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group fell 0.6 percentage point to 10.7 percent from a year earlier. The unemployed in this age group account for more than one-fifth of all jobless, KSH noted.
The unemployment rate in the 25-54 age group edged down 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 percent, and the rate in the 55-74 age group dropped 0.7 percentage point to 2.7 percent.
Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 15.1 months on average looking for employment during the period. 40.4 percent of the unemployed had been seeking work for at least one year.
The employment rate was 60.4 percent, slightly up from 60.3 percent in the previous period and 59.7 percent a year earlier.
The number of employed included 136,600 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 104,600 working abroad.
KSH defines “employed” in line with International Labour Organisation standards as anybody who worked one or more hour a week or was temporarily absent from their job during the survey week.
The data also include those employed in public work schemes and those working abroad for less than one year.
Commenting on the report, the finance minister said the data confirmed a job creation trend triggered by economic growth. Mihály Varga highlighted the increase in new jobs primarily in the industrial sector that took up 43,000 new employees out of the total 97,000 people who found work on the primary labour market in the third quarter.
Takarekbank analyst András Horváth said the rise in employment on the primary labour market could not immediately offset the rapid reduction in fostered workers.
The half a million Hungarians who are inactive, in fostered work programmes or working abroad, continue to present a labour market reserve, although the shortage of trained professionals is indeed significant, he added.
ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz noted that the number of jobseekers is rising faster than the number of employed, which could be a factor behind the higher unemployment.
Featured image: MTI