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Hungary jobless rate drops to 11.4% in February-April

Hungary's average unemployment rate was 11.4% in the 15-74 age group in February-April 2011, down from 11.6% in January-March and down from 11.8% in the same period of 2010, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Monday.

The number of unemployed in the age group averaged 481,400 in February-April of 2011, down 8,400 from the previous three-month period and down 15,400 from February-April 2010.

The fall in the jobless rate was the first drop since September-November 2010 when the rate bottomed out at 10.7%.

The unemployment rate rose from a low of 7.5% in the summer of 2008 to peak at 11.8% in the first months of 2010. The drop which followed slowed since May-July.

The jobless rate for the 15-64 age group also dropped, to 11.4% in February-April 2011 from 11.7% in January-March 2011, and from the 11.8% registered one year earlier.

The number of employed rose in both age groups, and the rise was the first one since last September-November.

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

The number of employed within the 15-64 age group rose 26,200 from January-March to 3,727,800 and was up 25,900 from a year earlier, KSH said.

The employment rate in the 15-64 age group was 55.0% in February-April, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous three-month period and up 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier.

The activity rate of the 15-64 age group rose 0.2 percentage points from January-March and was up 0.1 percentage points in one year. The rate reached 62.9% last summer, a peak since detailed figures are available from the beginning of 2007. The annual average activity rate, at 62.4%, was the highest since 1998. The number of economically active people within the age group rose 17,800 from January-March and rose 10,400 in one year to reach 4,209,000.

15.4% of those unemployed were between 15-24 years old, who are only limitedly present on the labour market. The unemployment rate in this age group was 25.9%, down 1.7 percentage points from a year earlier. The jobless rate for the most active, 25-54 age group was 10.6%, dropping 0.5 percentage points in one year.

Of all unemployed, 49.9% have been chasing jobs since one year or more, slightly less than the 50.1% measured in the preceding three months. The average period of unemployment was 18.5 months, 1.6 months more than a year ago.