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Unemployment rate falls as seasonal jobs start

Fresh data showing a drop in Hungary's unemployment rate was in line with expectations as seasonal jobs started, and it could augur a further decline in the number of jobless in the country, analysts told MTI on Monday.

Hungary's average unemployment rate fell to 11.4% in February-April from 11.6% in January-March and from 11.8% in the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said Monday.

Gergely Suppan of Magyar Takarékszövetkezeti Bank said the drop in the unemployment rate was in line with expectations. He attributed the fall to growing demand for labour in the manufacturing sector and to seasonal reasons. The rate will probably continue to fall in the coming months, but at a slower pace than employment is expected to rise on the effect of government-organised public work programs, he added.

Suppan put the unemployment rate at 10.2% by mid-year and at 10.6% by year-end as seasonal jobs end. He estimated the average rate for the full year would be 10.7%, but could fall to 10.4% in 2012.

ING Bank's Dávid Németh acknowledged the improvement in February-April but said it was no real turnaround, rather the effect of seasonal jobs. He put the year-end unemployment rate at 10.5-10.9%, but said it could fall under 10%, perhaps close to 9% in 2012.