Jobless rate edges down to 3.3%

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Hungaryʼs three-month rolling average unemployment rate reached 3.3% in April-June 2019, edging down from 3.4% in the previous three-month period, and down from 3.6% twelve months earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported on Monday.

In absolute terms, there were 155,500 unemployed Hungarians aged 15-74, down 9,700 from April-June 2018.

The unemployment rate among men aged 15–74 was 3.4%, while the jobless rate among women was 3.2%.

Broken down by age group, the unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group stood at 10.8%, up 1.3 percentage points compared to the base period. This age group accounts for more than one-fifth of all jobless.

The unemployment rate in the age group 25–54, i.e. persons belonging to the "best working age," decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 2.9%, while the rate among people aged 55–74 increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 2.5%.

Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 14.4 months on average looking for a job during the period; 35.6% of unemployed people had been searching for a job for one year or more, i.e. were classed as long-term unemployed.

At the end of June 2019, compared to a year earlier, administrative data of the National Employment Service (NFSz) show that the total number of registered jobseekers increased by 3.1% to 248,000.

Analyst Péter Virovácz of ING Bank told state news agency MTI that the jobless rate and the number of unemployed is again at a new low, mainly on the back of improving employment among women. In the second half of the year, he said the jobless rate could be around 3.4% and he does not expect it to fall significantly lower.

Employment rate creeps further upward

Employment figures also released by the KSH today show that the number of employed people in Hungary stood at 4,510,900 among those aged 15-74 in April-June 2019, some 36,300 or 0.8% more than in the corresponding period a year earlier.

The number of those employed on the domestic primary labor market rose 2.0% from a year earlier to 4,285,000, while the number of those in fostered work programs dropped 34.9% to 108,700. The number of those working abroad was up 9.4% to 117,200.

The rate of employment among Hungarians aged 15–64 grew by 0.7 of a percentage point to 70.0%. The employment rate for men aged 15–64 was 77.1%, while employment among women was 63.0%.

The rate of employed young people aged 15–24 years was 28.2%. In the "best working age" group of 25–54 years, the employment rate was 84.6%, while in the older, 55–64 age group, the employment rate grew by 2.6 percentage points to 56.1%.

The employment rate among Hungarians aged 20–64 – the coverage regarding the development of employment objectives defined in the Europe 2020 Strategy – grew by 0.7 of a percentage point to 75.2%. The European Union has set a target of 75% by 2020; in Hungary, the employment rate in this age group is currently 82.8% for men, and 67.7% for women.

András Horváth of TakarékBank told MTI that around 250-300,000 jobs could still be filled until the economy reaches full employment, but the remaining labor pool consist of unskilled workers or those who are difficult to employ and some form of policy intervention would be needed to get them to work.

Unemployment and employment data for May–July 2019 will be published by the KSH on August 28.

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