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UPDATE - Hungary jobless rate unchanged 10.8% in Jun-Aug

Hungary's average unemployment rate was 10.8% in the 15-74 age group in June-August 2011, unchanged now for the third three-month period and down from 11.0% in June-August 2010, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Wednesday.

In the 15-64 age group the jobless rate dropped to 10.8% after staying at 10.9% for both April-June and May-July. The rate for the age group was down from 11.1% one year earlier.

Employment as well as unemployment numbers were little changed in both age groups from May-July when the number of employed rose further but unemployment also rose, breaking a falling trend evident since the first quarter of 2011.

In an annual comparison the number of unemployed in June-August was 1.6% lower and the number of employed rose 0.8% from a year earlier.

The number of unemployed in the 15-64 age group averaged 462,700 in June-August 2011, dropping just 400 or 0.1% after a 2,500 rise in May-July, but down 7,700 (1.6%) in one year.

The number of employed within the 15-64 age group rose 4,400 or 0.1% from May-July to 3,804,200, and was up 31,800 or 0.8% from a year earlier.

The drops in the jobless numbers and the rise in employment numbers were similar in the 15-74 age group where the number of unemployed stood at 462,800 and the number of those employed totaled 3,836,400 in June-August.

The activity rate in both age groups remained unchanged, at 56.0% for the 15-74 age group and at 62.9% after increases in the previous four three-month periods. The activity rates for both age groups were up from 55.6% and 62.7%, respectively, twelve months earlier.

The activity rate in the 15-64 age group rose back in the summer to a more than three-year peak reached in summer 2010. The rate started to slip in autumn 2010 and bottomed out at 61.9% in Q1 this year. The annual average activity rate, at 62.4% last year, was the highest since 1998.

16.8% of those unemployed in June-August were between 15-24 years old, who are only present on the labour market to a limited extent. The unemployment rate in this age group was 26.0%, up 1 percentage point from May-July but down 1.3 percentage points from a year earlier.

The jobless rate for the most active, 25-54 age group was 9.9%, down 0.1 percentage point from May-July, and down 0.2 percentage points in one year.

Of all unemployed, 51.5% have been chasing jobs for one year or longer, more than the 50.7% % measured in the preceding three months. The average period of unemployment was 18.6 months, 0.4 months more than in May-July.

Average unemployment in 2010 was 11.2%, up 1.2 percentage points from 2009.