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Hungarian gross wages up 9.9%

Hungary’s gross wages rose 9.9% in the twelve months to March, down from a slightly downward revised 13.1% in February.

Private sector wage growth slowed, figures published by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Friday show.

In January-March, gross wages rose 6.5% from the same period a year earlier, slowing from an 8.0% full-year rise in 2007.

Twelve-month private sector gross wage growth slowed to 9.0% in March, from a downward revised 14.0% in February, while public sector wage growth picked up to 12.7% from 11.8%.

Changes last year to the way public sector employees' annual bonuses - equivalent to a full month's pay - are paid boosted wage growth as they did in February. The employees were paid one-twelfth of the annual bonus in March, as compared to no bonus payment in the base period.

In January-March, average private sector gross wages rose 10.9% from the same period a year earlier, while public sector gross wages dropped 0.7% - again due to changes in the payment schedule for annual bonuses which resulted in a sharp 14.6% gross wage fall in the sector in January.

Twelve-month “regular” gross wages - excluding the effect of bonuses and other one-off payments - rose 7.2% in March, slowing from an 8.4% increase in February. January-March regular wages rose 7.5% from the same period a year earlier, slightly off from a 7.7% full-year rise in 2007.

Twelve-month private sector gross regular wages rose 7.7% in March, slowing from 10.4% in February, as regular wage growth fell to its lowest rate since June 2006. In January-March private sector gross regular wages climbed 8.9% from the same period a year earlier, dropping from a full-year rise of 10.6% in 2007.

Twelve-month public sector regular gross wages rose 6.3% in March, the largest increase since January 2007. Regular wage growth in the sector has picked up at an increasing pace since October, when the twelve-month rate was a mere 0.8%. January-March regular gross wages rose 4.8% from the same period a year earlier, exceeding the 2.3% full-year increase in 2007.

Net wages rose 8.7% in March from the same month a year earlier. Real wages increased 1.8%, calculating with March CPI of 6.7%. Twelve-month net wages in the private sector rose 8.0% in March, slowing from a 12% increase in February. Net public sector wages rose 10.8% in March, picking up from 10.0% in February.

January-March net wages rose 6.2% from a year earlier. Real wages - calculated with 6.9% inflation - fell 0.7% during the period. (MTI – Econews)