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Unemployment rate rises to 7.4% in June-August

The average number of unemployed was 314,500 in June-August 2006, resulting in an unemployment rate of 7.4%, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) reported on Tuesday. The unemployment rate was up from 7.3% in the previous three-month period and from 7.2% in June-August 2005. This year, the unemployment rate peaked at 7.7% in the Q1 partly on seasonal effects, fell to 7.2% in the Q2 and has been rising slightly since. KSH calculates the jobless rate in line with ILO standards. According to Eurostat's harmonized unemployment figures, Hungary's jobless rate in July (the middle of the three-month period) was 7.7%, equal to the respective EU-25 average but well above the EU-15's rate of 7.0%. The number of employed averaged 3,945,500 in June-August 2006, rising 11,700 from the previous three months period and up 28,500 from a year earlier. The number of unemployed in the period was up 3,400 from May-July 2006 and rose 12,000 from the same period a year earlier. The rise in both the number of unemployed and employed reflects a rise in the participation or activity rate of the population between 15 and 74 years of age. The activity rate was 55.2% in June-August, up 0.2 percentage points from May-July, and up 0.8 percentage points from 54.6% from a year earlier. Hungary's low activity rate has been gradually rising from 53.6% in the Q1 of 2004. In June-August, 21.2% of the unemployed were between 15 and 24 years of age. The unemployment rate in this age group was 19.5% in the period, down 0.2 percentage points from the same period a year earlier. Long-term unemployment fell 0.4 percentage points from with 47.7% of all unemployed searching for work for one year or longer in the period. The average time spent out of work dropped to 16.8 months from 17 months from May-July. (Mti-Eco)