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Unemployment on the rise

The jobless rate in Hungary in the October-December 2004 period grew compared to the corresponding period of 2003, Central Statistics Office (KSH) figures show.
The number of those employed was close to 4 million, while the number of unemployed was 263,000. The jobless rate thus reached 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2004, compared to an average of 6.1% in the preceding three quarters of the year.
In 2004, some 60.5% of those aged 15?64 were active on the labor market, which is some percentage points lower than the preceding year?s annual average in the EU15 (i.e. the 15 member countries of the EU prior to expansion of the union last May).
Although the proportion of active jobseekers within this age range was some 1.5% greater 1.5 percentage points than the average of the previous year, this can be attributed to the extension of the retirement age.
The number of those employed stagnated on an annual average. The number of employed persons significantly decreased in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, as well as in the processing industry ? and within the latter, particularly in the increasingly uncompetitive textile, and textile, leather and footwear product manufacturing sectors.
An increase in jobs, meanwhile, was witnessed in the construction industry, financial services, hotels and catering, the real estate sector and service industries.
Trends in employment throughout the year were characterized by minor seasonal variations. The jobless rate among the young grew by the greatest margin, principally because the passage from school to work is becoming increasingly fraught with difficulty. Within the ranks of the unemployed, the number of school leavers seeking work was close to 50% greater than the preceding year.
The average period of unemployment in 2004 was 16.6 months, and 16.4 months in the fourth quarter alone. The proportion of long-term unemployed remains high, at 45.6% of the total in the last quarter of 2004.