Jobless rate down to 4.2% in May-July
In the period May–July 2017, the rolling average three-month unemployment rate fell by 0.8 of a percentage point year-on-year to 4.2%, according to a first release of data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH) today.
The rate covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74. In absolute terms, there were 193,400 unemployed in Hungary in May-July, 3,000 less than in April-June, and 34,600 less than in the same period a year earlier.
The jobless rate was lower for men than for women, and the rate of improvement was also greater among men. In May–July 2017, compared to the equivalent period of 2016, the number of jobless men aged 15–74 decreased by 28,000 to 99,000, and their unemployment rate by 1.2 percentage points to 3.9%. The number of jobless women declined by 7,000 to 95,000, and their unemployment rate by 0.3 of a percentage point to 4.5%.
The unemployment rate in the 15–24 age group decreased by 2.0 percentage points to 10.9%, and nearly one-fifth of the total unemployed belonged to this age group in the period concerned.
The unemployment rate of those aged 25–54, i.e. persons belonging to the ‘best working age,’ decreased by 0.8 of a percentage point to 3.7%, while the rate among persons aged 55–64 was essentially unchanged, at 3.6%.
The average duration of unemployment was 16.7 months; 43.3% of unemployed people had been searching for a job for one year or more, i.e. were long-term unemployed.
At the end of July 2017, compared to the same point a year earlier, administrative data of the National Employment Service (http://eu.munka.hu/) show that the total number of registered job seekers decreased by 5.9% to 275,000.
Employment rate up
Separate KSH figures show that the number of employed Hungarians during the May-July period stood at 4,433,600, up 14,100 from the previous three-month period, and up 61,800 (1.4%) compared to one year earlier.
The employment rate was thus 59.4%, slightly up from 59.2% in the previous period, and up from 58.2% a year earlier.
The employment rate of people aged 15–64, representing the vast majority of the total, increased to 68.3%. The employment indicator of men improved to a greater extent than that of women.
The number of employed young people aged 15–24 years was 306,000, and their employment rate increased by 0.8 of a percentage point to 29.3%. The number of employed people increased in both the ‘best working age,’ i.e. the 25–54 age group, and in the older, 55–64 age group, with the employment rate growing by 1.3 percentage points to 83.9% in the former, and by 1.6 percentage points to 51.7% in the latter age group.
The employment rate of people aged 20–64 – the coverage regarding the development of employment objectives defined in the European Unionʼs Europe 2020 Strategy – grew by 1.6 percentage points to 73.5%. The EU has targeted raising the average employment rate to 75% by 2020; in Hungary, the employment rate in this age group is currently 81.5% for men and 65.7% for women.
The number of employed included 195,800 Hungarians in fostered work programs and 112,900 working abroad.
The number of those employed on the domestic primary labor market rose 2.7% from a year earlier, while the number of fostered workers dropped 16.9%. The number of those working abroad was also down, by 4.4%.
Favorable trend seen continuing
Among analysts interviewed by state news wire MTI, Péter Virovácz of ING Bank said favorable trends on the labor market are set to continue and the jobless rate could fall to 4% by the end of the year. As labor market conditions are tight, this could result in a further increase in wages and lowering of the number of fostered workers, he added.
Erste Bankʼs chief analyst Gergely Ürmössy said he was not surprised by the improving employment and unemployment statistics. He agreed that the jobless rate could continue to fall in the coming months on the back of economic growth and an increase in the number of seasonal jobs. For the full year, he forecast a potential average unemployment rate of 4.2%.
András Horváth of TakarékBank said there is still a reserve of 700,000 potential workers in the form of inactive workers, fostered workers, those employed abroad and unemployed people. However, he added that the employment level is rising at a slower pace than before, which suggests it is nearing its peak at the current training level of the workforce.
TakarékBank estimates that the unemployment rate could fall to 3.7% by the end of summer and average 4.1% for the year.
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