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Jobless rate inches up slightly in Nov-Jan

Hungaryʼs rolling average three-month jobless rate reached 3.7% in November-January, inching up from the previous three-month period, but down from 3.8% in the corresponding period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday. The employment rate was 60.4%, up 0.7 of a percentage point.

In the period November 2018–January 2019, the average number of unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 74 was 169,800, down 3,900 year-on-year.

In November–January, compared to a year before, the jobless rate among men aged 15–74 increased by 0.4 of a percentage point to 3.8%, while among women, the jobless rate declined by 0.8 of a percentage point to 3.5%.

Among people aged 15–24, the jobless rate increased to 11.4%, up 0.8 of a percentage point year-on-year. More than one-fifth of the unemployed belonged to this age group. The unemployment rate in the age group 25–54, i.e. persons belonging to the "best working age," was 3.2% (down 0.2 of a percentage pont), while that of the older 55–74 age group was 2.4% (up 0.1 of a percentage point).

The average duration of unemployment was 14.2 months; 39.0% 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 January 2019, compared to a year earlier, data of the National Employment Service (NFSz) show that the total number of registered job seekers decreased by 4.9% to 254,000.

45,000 more people in work

Separate employment data released by the KSH for the period November 2018–January 2019 show that the average number of employed people in Hungary aged 15-74 was 4,480,700, some 44,800 - or 1.0% - more than a year earlier.

The increment in the domestic primary labor market was 80,300, up 1.9%, while the number of those working abroad grew by 11,900, up 12.1%. The number of people declaring work in public employment decreased by 47,300, down 27%.

The vast majority of working Hungarians - 4,413,200 people - were aged 15–64, and the employment rate in this age group grew by 0.9 of a percentage point to 69.5%.

The employment rate among men aged 15–64 rose by 0.6 of a percentage point to 76.6%, while employment among women rose by 1.1 percentage points to 62.6%.

Among young people aged 15–24, the rate of employment essentially did not change, at 28.9%. In the "best working age" group of 25–54, the employment rate rose slightly to 84.0%, while in the older, 55–64 age group, the rate grew 2.3 percentage points to 55.6%.

The employment rate among people aged 20–64 – the coverage regarding the development of employment objectives defined in the Europe 2020 Strategy – grew by 0.9 of a percentage point to 74.7%. The European Union has targeted raising the average employment rate to 75% by 2020; in Hungary, the employment rate in this age group is currently 82.3% for men, and 67.2% for women.

Responding to the latest data, TakarékBankʼs chief analyst Gergely Suppan told state news wire MTI that the employment rate in Hungary could rise by at least another four percentage points, but this would require policy intervention in the areas of illegal employment and training for unskilled workers.

Unemployment and employment data for the next three-month period of December 2018–February 2019 will be published March 28.