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Hungary jobless rate flat at 10.6% in Sept-Nov

The average unemployment rate in Hungary was 10.6% in the 15-74 age group in September-November, up 0.1 percentage point from August-October, but unchanged from the same period a year earlier, data published by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) on Friday show.

The employment rate in the age group was 51.3% in September-November, down 0.1 percentage point from August-October, but 0.9 percentage points higher than in the same period a year earlier.

There were 467,500 unemployed in Hungary in the 15-74 age group on average in September-November, up 4,600 from August-October and up 7,200 from a year earlier.

The number of unemployed was under the 500,000 post-crisis peak reached at the beginning of 2010, but still well over the pre-crisis level of about 320,000.

The number of employed in the 15-74 age group averaged 3,924,900 in September-November, down 9,900 from August-October, and up 55,000 from the same period a year earlier.

The activity rate in the 15-74 age group was 51.3% in September-November, edging down from 51.4% in August-October but up from 50.4% in the same period a year earlier.

About 20.0% of the unemployed were in the 15-24 age group.

Within the 15-64 age group, the number of employed averaged 3,890,500 in September-November, down 8,600 from August-October to but up 55,800 from the same period a year earlier.

The activity rate in the 15-64 age group was 58.1% in September-November, down slightly from 58.2% in August-October, but up from 56.7% in the same period a year earlier.

KSH said 48.0% of the unemployed had been looking for work for a year or more. The average time the unemployed spent seeking jobs was 17.5 months.

KSH noted that data from the National Employment Service (NFSz) show there were 536,100 registered job seekers at the end of October, 1.9% more than a year earlier.

The "employed" in KSH's statistics include people with all forms of employment contracts who have worked more than one hour a week during the period or are on sick or paid leave.

Gergely Suppan, chief analyst for Takarekbank, told MTI the data were in line with expectations. He attributed many of the jobs added to the economy during the period to fostered work programs and suggested the higher activity rate could be a result of tighter conditions for retiring and a review of disability pensioners.

ING's David Nemeth also said fostered work programs supported the higher employment numbers. He warned that the unemployment rate could rise close to 11.5% by the first quarter of 2013.