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Economy continues to struggle with labor shortages

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The number of job vacancies in Hungary has reached a record high, according to figures released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH). In the second quarter of 2017, job vacancies in the private sector stood at more than 48,000, a 10,000 increase year-on-year.

The total number of job vacancies in Hungary amounts to 65,700, KSH data show. According to figures last made public at the end of 2015, job vacancies in public administration stood at 14,510, but by now the figure is likely higher, given that labor shortages have also grown in this sector, online business news portal vg.hu notes.

As for the private sector, vg.hu adds, the officially reported figure of nearly 50,000 is probably much lower than the real figure, which is estimated at as much as 100,000-200,000, say labor market experts.

The most acute situation is in the manufacturing industry, where 19,000 workers could be hired instantly. Figures published by Eurostat, the European Unionʼs statistical office, support the numbers recorded by the KSH, vg.hu notes. While one year earlier 7 out of 10 industrial companies considered labor shortages the main obstacle to growth, now 8 of 10 believe this, it adds.

Regarding other sectors, the immediate shortage in the construction industry is 3,000 workers (vs. 2,000 last year), but the hospitality industry is also struggling. Public administration, education, public health and social assistance are also in need of thousands of workers, says the report.

Meanwhile, pro-government daily Magyar Idők reports that about 48,000 Hungarians in government-sponsored fostered work programs found jobs on the primary labor market last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Interior. However, about half of participants in fostered work programs have no more than a primary school education, making it difficult to place them in primary labor market positions, the newspaper noted.

Researchers warn that Hungarian economic growth is being slowed by low productivity caused by an insufficiently qualified labor force.

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