Rent subsidies might aid labor mobility

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Hungary is confronted with acute labor shortages, and yet many in underdeveloped areas of the country are still struggling to find a job, according to business daily Világgazdaság. Moving to more developed areas, however, carries its own problems.

Research released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) shows that a significant number of unemployed are located in Eastern Hungary. Many went to the Balaton region to fill vacant jobs in restaurants and hotels, but there are still 16% who have never worked before.

According to KSH figures, 44% of the 135,000-strong inactive workforce think they would not find a job even if they searched for one. A further 9% invoked health problems and 13.5% are waiting to be reemployed by their previous employer. Pensioners amount to 5%, and 4.8% are raising children under 15.

In recent years, though unemployment figures have improved, it is mainly those with higher education qualifications who have managed to find jobs, while the less skilled remain jobless. Two solutions are needed urgently: one is qualifications for those who lack skills, and the other relocation to areas in Western Hungary confronted with labor shortages, the KSH notes.

The problem with relocation, however, is that wages in more developed regions are still not high enough for workers to be able to afford higher rents. Those who are open to relocation thus prefer to go abroad. The government is looking to prevent this by offering rent subsidies, according to the report.

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