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Hungary December-February jobless rate 11.5%, unchanged from Tuesday report

Hungary's unemployment rate was 11.5% in the 15-74 age group in December 2010-February 2011, up from 11.2% in November-January, and up from 11.4% in the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday, confirming the figure published on Tuesday.

The correction of an error in Tuesday's unemployment report left the main figures - including the unemployment, employment and activity rates in the 5-74 and the 15-64 age groups - unchanged, KSH said on Wednesday, publishing a corrected version of the Tuesday report. The correction resulted changes within statistical error in absolute numbers, KSH said.

The statistics office withdrew the report on Tuesday afternoon, after tracing an error in the running of the model for projecting Hungary's population.

The 11.5% jobless rate measured in December 2010-February 2011 was the second highest rate since January-March 2007, when the moving average methodology was introduced, and the highest since January-March and February-April last year when the rate was 11.8% in both periods.

Analysts expected an unchanged 11.2% from December-February, with unemployment dropping to its lowest annual level around 10.5% in the summer months.

The number of unemployed in the age group totaled 487,100 in December-February, the revised figures show, rising from 474,000 on average in the previous three months and 478,700 one year ago.

The jobless rate rose for the third consecutive period after dropping to 10.7% in September-November last year.

The unemployment rate bottomed out at 7.5% in the summer of 2008 and rose to peak at 11.8% in the first months of 2010. The drop which followed slowed from May-July, and turned into a rise late last year.

The jobless rate for the 15-64 age group was 11.6% in December-February, up from also 11.2% in November-January, and up from 11.5% from a year ago. The rate for this age group peaked at 11.9% in Q1 2010 and after falling to 10.8% in September-November, started to increase again in October-December last year.

The employment rate in the 15-64 age group was 54.8% in December-February, down from 55.3% in the preceding period, but better than the 54.6% a year ago. The number of employed people in this age group fell to a corrected 3.712 million from 3.745 million in November-January. It was 3.695 million a year ago.

The growth of both unemployment and employment compared to one year ago reflects the fact that more and more people are registering as job seekers but some of them don't find positions, KSH said. Of all unemployed, 52% have been chasing jobs since one year or more.

The average period of unemployment is 18.3 months, two months more than one year ago, KSH observed.

Average unemployment in 2010 was 11.2%, up 1.2 percentage points from 2009.