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Jobless rate steady at 3.4%

Hungaryʼs three-month rolling average unemployment rate reached 3.4% in June-August, unchanged from the previous three-month period, but down from 3.8% twelve months earlier. At the same time, the employment rate among people aged 15–64 rose to 70.2%.

In absolute terms, there were 156,900 unemployed people aged 15-74 in June–August 2019, down 16,200 from a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported on Friday.

The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group stood at 10.3%. This age group accounts for more than one-fifth of all jobless, the KSH noted. The jobless rate in the 25-54 age group was down half a percentage point year-on-year to 2.9%, while the rate in the 55-74 age group was steady at 2.5%.

Unemployment among men aged 15–74 fell within the limits of the sampling error, with a jobless rate of 3.2%. Regarding women, the unemployment rate declined by 0.6 of a percentage point to 3.6%.

Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 14.1 months on average looking for employment during the period, and 37.4% of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or longer, i.e. were classed as long-term unemployed.

34,000 more people in work

Meanwhile, figures released by the KSH on the same day reveal that the number of employed people stood at 4,517,500 among 15-74-year-olds in June–August, some 33,900 or 0.8% more than in the corresponding period a year earlier.

The number of those employed on the domestic primary labor market rose 1.4% from a year earlier to 4,290,900, while the number of fostered workers dropped 27.6% to 107,800. The number of those working abroad was up 13.3% to 118,800.

Employment among young people aged 15–24 years essentially did not change, with a rate of 29.0%. In the 25–54 age group, the employment rate was 84.4%, while in the older, 55–64 age group, the employment rate grew by 2.7 percentage points to 56.9%.

The employment rate of 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 75.4%. The European Union has set a target of 75% by 2020; in Hungary, the employment rate in this age group is currently 83.2% for men and 67.7% for women.

Labor market saturated, say analysts

Analysts interviewed by state news agency MTI said the employment level in Hungary has probably reached its peak, with further expansion hindered by workforce shortages and uncertainties in the global market environment.

András Horváth of Takarékbank said data from the most competitive EU member states suggest the employment level in Hungary could be increased by at least 4 percentage points, which would require creating another 250,000-300,000 jobs. However, as the available workforce is unqualified, further expansion can only be expected from training programs, he added.

ING Bank analyst Péter Virovácz said he expects the jobless rate to remain unchanged in the next 12-18 months thanks to domestic demand and favorable cost levels at exporting companies.

Unemployment and employment figures for the next three-month period of July–September 2019 will be published on October 29.