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Hungary jobless rate up at 11.7% in Q1

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The average unemployment rate in Hungary was 11.7 % in the 15-74 age group in January-March, rising slightly further from 11.6% in December-February and also up from 10.6% in the same period a year earlier, data published by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) on Friday show.

The jobless rate for the 15-64 group also rose 0.1 percentage points both from the previous three-month period and from a year earlier. The activity rates in this age group rose slightly from the previous three months to 63.2% in Q1 and was unchanged in the wider age group, data published quarterly show. Employment in both age groups fell from December-January but rose in one year.

The jobless ratio of the 15-74 age group dropped below 11% last spring and fell until 10.6% in September-November 2011 before a renewed rise started. Part of the rise could be seasonal as the pattern was similar one year ago.

There were 504,100 unemployed in Hungary in the 15-74 age group on average in Q1, 6,700 more than in December-February and up 14,300 from a year earlier.

The number of employed in the 15-74 age group averaged 3,794,300 in January-March, down 2,600 from December-February but up 58,800 in one year. The employment rate in the 15-74 age group was unchanged from 49.5.5% in December-February, but rose 0.9 percentage points from one year earlier.

The activity rate in the 15-74 age group was 56.0% in Q1 2012, unchanged from the last two three-month periods but down from 56.2% in Q4 2011. The rate was up 1 percentage points from one year earlier. The activity rate in the age group peaked at 56.4% late summer and the autumn of 2011.

The unemployment rate in the 15-64 age group was 11.8% in Q1, rising slightly from the 11.7% rate measured both in the previous three-month period and one year earlier. The jobless rate in the age group has risen since bottoming out at 10.7% in the last few months of 2011.

The number of unemployed among those aged 15-64 rose 7,800 from December-January and rose 13,600 in one year.

Employment in the 15-64 age group dropped 5,000 from the previous three-month period and rose 54,500 from one year earlier. The respective employment rate, at 55.7%, was down 0.1 percentage points from December-January and rose 1.1 percentage points in one year.

Activity rate in the 15-64 age group rose slightly, to 63.2%, KSH reported, after stagnating at 63.1% in the previous two periods. The age group's activity rate rose steadily from 61.9% in Q1 2011 to peak at 63.5% late summer and the autumn before a drop started in Q4.

In a change from earlier practice, KSH publishes unemployment figures for the 15-64 age group only quarterly rather than publishing the three-month moving averages each month since February this year. It also publishes activity rates only quarterly instead of every month as previously.

The unemployment rate in the most active 25-54 age group rose to 10.9% in January-March, and was also slightly up from 10.8% one year earlier. The rate for the age group varied between 9.7%-9.9% in H1 last year.

The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group fell, in contrast, to 27.8% from 28.3% in December-February although it was up from 26.8% one year earlier. 15.7% of all unemployed were in this age group.

KSH said 44.4% of the unemployed were seeking work for a year or more in Q1, down from 45.7% in December-February. The average time spent unemployed fell slightly to 17.3 months from 17.4 months in December-February.

KSH noted that there were 591,00 registered jobseekers at the end of March, 9.0% less than one year earlier.

The "employed" in the above statistics include people with all forms of employment contracts who have worked more than one hour a week during the period or are on sick leave or on paid absence.

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