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Business sector employment rises, overall employment stagnates in August

The number of employees in Hungary's business sector, including private as well as state-owned companies employing at least five people, reached 1,873,500 in August, up 1.1% from the same month a year earlier and 0.3% more than in July, fresh data from the Central Statistics Office (KSH) show.

The combined number of employees in the business sector, the public sector and at non-profit organisations totaled 2,719,400 in August, down 0.6% in twelve months but unchanged from July.

The number of business sector employees has risen every month in a month-on-month comparison since March, although the pace of growth slowed in the summer months. Year-on-year business sector employment started to grow in May 2010 after declining steadily between December 2008 and April 2010.

The number of business sector employees in August rose by 21,100 in one year but was still down about 100,000 from a peak of 1,980,000 in May 2008.

Employment in the business sector averaged 1,827,000 for the full year in 2010, edging up 0.3% from 2009, when the economic crisis reduced the number by 6.7%.

Overall employment remained unchanged from July, following a 0.4% drop from June to July. A steady rise from month to month between February and June halted as the number of public sector employees started to decline on the month in July.

The number of public sector employees totaled 738,600 in August, down 5,200 or 0.7% from July and down 41,600 or 5.3% from a year earlier. The number of those employed by non-profit organisations fell 0.1% in a month and rose 2.9% in a year to 107,300 in August.

The monthly drops in public sector employment in July and August as well as the preceding increases mainly reflected changes in the number of people employed in public work schemes.

The number of people employed in public work schemes dropped on the month, by 5.5% in July and by another 3.2% in August after steep rises from February through April.

Overall employment fell year-on-year for the fourth month in a row in August as a rise in business sector employment failed to offset a decline in the number of public sector employees that began in January.

Here too, public work schemes were the main factor behind the fall. The government reorganized these programs at the beginning of 2011, and, after a sharp drop in January, the number of those employed on such schemes rose steeply until June. The numbers remained, however, more than 20% below the corresponding 2010 levels even in the summer months, fluctuating between 71,100 in August and 77,800 in June.

The composition of those employed on public work schemes also changed considerably, as the ratio of those employed full-time fell to little more than one-quarter from an average of 78% in 2010.