Hungary’s jobless rate drops to 4.6% in Feb-April

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Hungary’s unemployment rate dropped by 1.3 pp to 4.6% in the February-April period, as compared to the same period a year earlier, Hungaryʼs Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported today in a first release of data. However, professionals argue the actual rate is higher as the government includes those on its public work scheme.

The jobless rate of 15-74-year-old unemployed men decreased by 1.3 percentage points to 4.3%, while that of women in the same age bracket dropped by 1.1 percentage points to 4.9%, according to the data put out by KSH. The unemployment rate of those aged 25–54 — the so-called “best working age” — decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 4.1%.

The average duration of unemployment was 17 months. Some 44.8% of unemployed people had been searching for a job for one year or more, which means they were long-term unemployed. At the end of April, compared to a year earlier, the total number of registered jobseekers decreased by 9.1%, according to the administrative data of the National Employment Service.

The average number of employed people was 4.378 million, 84,000 more than a year earlier, the KSH said in a separate first reading of data today. The employment rate of people aged 15–64 increased to 67.3%, the improvement in the employment indicators of women and men was similar.

Minister for National Economy Mihaly Varga has recently announced that a government resolution would be published soon on transforming the fostered work program, and the number of people working in such employment will be reduced. The government says it aims to lead those workers back to the labor market. 

At the same time, according to recent figures from the KSH, many Hungarians still choose to leave the country to live and work abroad. The majority of Hungarians leaving the country are from the younger generation; 45% are under the age of 30, while almost three-quarters are below the age of 40.

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