Hungarian employment figures seen as not reflecting reality

History

Upbeat official data published yesterday, showing unemployment fell to the lowest level since early 2005 in the April-June period this year, is not realistic, as the figures are based on sample-taking for one week only in any three-month period, and anyone who worked for money with or without a contract for at least one hour in the reference week is considered employed, according to a report carried by Hungarian news agency MTI. Furthermore, the figures are distorted by inclusion of fostered workers and people working abroad for less than a year, the report said. 

In a note on Wednesday, Hungarian bank Takarékbank said it expected further declines in the official jobless rate this year, but added that while employment rose in April-June the number was distorted by the 13,000 more Hungarians working abroad, and the 45,000 people in public work schemes funded from state coffers. The employment of the latter is temporary by law, and their usual pay is about a quarter short of the legal minimum wage.

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