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Jobless data no surprise; improvement likely to be slow - analysts

Fresh unemployment data published early Friday was no surprise, but the jobless rate is likely to improve only slowly, analysts told MTI.

Hungary's average unemployment rate was 10.9% in the 15-74 age group in August-October, level with the rate in July-September, but up 0.5 percentage point from the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Friday.

The unemployment rose from 7.5% in the summer of 2008 to peak at 11.8% in January-March and February-April of 2010. The drop slowed in May-July from the two previous three-month periods.

Erste Bank's Zoltán Árokszállási said he had expected the unemployment rate to fall to 10.8% in August-October, but the figure was no surprise. The number of employed grew, but at a slower rate than in the previous period, he added.

It's still a question whether the economic pick-up can offset seasonal effects, Árokszállási said. Because of the fall in seasonal jobs, the unemployment rate might even grow during the winter months, he added.

Árokszállási put the average unemployment rate for the full year at 11.1% in 2010 and 10.5% in 2011.

Zoltan Török of Raiffeisen Bank said the unemployment rate was falling because of manufacturing sector exporters, as jobs are not being created at SMEs because of weak domestic demand.

He said the unemployment rate would fall to 10.7% by the end of 2010 and to 9.9% by the end of 2011. (MTI-Econews)