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Gross wage growth slows to 4.9% in Dec

Average gross wages in Hungary rose 4.9% year-on-year in December, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Thursday. Gross wage growth slowed from a 5.4% increase in November, as the growth of business sector wages accelerated but public sector wages fell. In absolute terms, the average gross monthly wage was HUF 243,328 in December. Gross wage growth in the business sector accelerated to 8.3% year-on-year in December from 6.3% in November. In absolute terms, the average gross wage in the sector was HUF 260,243. Excluding premiums and bonuses, the average gross wage was up 7.3% at HUF 221,668. The average gross wage in the public sector fell 3.2% to HUF 205,848. Excluding premiums and bonuses, the average gross wage rose 1.4% to HUF 195,733. Eliminating the effect of remuneration for fostered workers, the average gross wage in the public sector rose 1.1% to HUF 221,313. Gross wages of fostered workers working full time rose 5.8% to HUF 73,344. Net wages in December were up 3.1% at HUF 157,051. Calculating with consumer price inflation of 5.0% in November, real wages were down 1.8%. In January-December 2012, the average gross monthly wage for the whole economy rose 4.6% to HUF 222,990. The average net wage was up 2.0% at HUF 144,040. January-December gross wages in the business sector were up 7.2%, but rose 8.0% if premiums and bonuses are excluded. In the public sector, gross wages in January-December were down 1.7%, and regular wages fell 0.9%. Excluding fostered workers whose wages fell 6.7% in January-December, gross public sector wages rose 3.7%. KSH reported that about 55% of full-time public sector employees - 61.9% of public sector employees excluding fostered workers - were paid an average HUF 10,100 a month and 9.2% of non-profit organisation employees were paid an average HUF 10,200 a month compensation in January-December to prevent 2012 tax changes - the elimination of a former employee tax credit scheme in lower wage categories - to cut their net income. The compensation, which does not constitute a part of wages, added 1.6 percentage points to the wage growth of those employed in the public sector excluding those on public work schemes, KSH said. Phasing out the tax credit reduced the net wages of those earning less than gross monthly HUF 216,806, a little less than the eleven-month average wage. Government schemes helped employers to fill in the gap.