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Hungary unemployment rate rises to 9.9% in February-April

Hungary's average unemployment rate rose to 9.9% in February-April, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Thursday. The rate is the highest since Q2 and Q3 1996.

The February-April unemployment rate was up from 9.7% in January-March and from 7.7% in the same period a year earlier. The rate was the same for both the 15-74 and the 15-64 age groups.

The average number of unemployed was 411,800 in the 15-74 age group in February-April, up 9,000 from January-March. The number of unemployed rose 88,400 in a year.

The rise in the unemployment rate stemmed exclusively from increased activity as the number of employed people rose a slight 2,500 to 3.767 million in the broader age group, including a rise of just 300 in the narrower one. The number of inactive population, however fell 13,400 in the 15-74 age group, including a 11,900 in the narrower age group.

The employment rates of 48.9% in the 15-74 age group and 55.1% in the 15-64 age group were unchanged from the previous three-month period and presence on the labour market rose an equal 0.2 percentage point in both groups to 54.3% and 61.2%, respectively.

The unemployment rate was between 7.5% and 7.8% for much 2008, but started to rise sharply in the fourth quarter because of the financial and economic crisis.

Harmonized unemployment rate for March, the middle month of the period published by Eurostat was 8.5% in EU-15, 8.3% in EU-27 and 9.2% in Hungary.

Unemployment in the 15-24 age group was 25.1%, 6.1 percentage points higher than a year.

Due to the continuous inflow to unemployed status, the average duration of unemployment dropped to 16.5 months from 16.7 months a month earlier, and the proportion of long-term, unemployed (seeking job for more than one year) decreased 4.8 percentage points to 42.5%. (MTI-ECONEWS)