KSH: Gross wages up 4.9% y.o.y. in May

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Flat prices helped average gross wages in Hungary rise 4.9% year-on-year in May, the latest publication of the Central Statistics Office (KSH) revealed today.

The KSH's figures are for real wages after inflation, which has been low, and that helped to boost the value of workers' paychecks.  

Excluding fostered workers, who are paid by the state and earn less than the minimum wage, average gross wages rose 4.0% year-on-year in May. Average gross wages rose 4.1% year-on-year in April but rose 6.7% if fostered workers were excluded.

The gross wage of fostered workers employed full time rose 1.0% year-on-year in May after falling 3.4% in the previous month. Gross regular wages – excluding premiums and bonuses – rose 5.3% overall in the twelve months to May, and they rose 4.5% if the wages of fostered workers were excluded.

Gross wages in the business sector rose 4.2% year-on-year May, slowing from a 4.4% increase in April. Gross wages in the public sector were up 6.3% after rising 5.7% in the previous month. Excluding fostered workers, business sector wages rose 4.1% from a year earlier, and regular wages rose 3.2% (3.1% excluding fostered workers).

KSH noted that some full-time public sector employees were paid an average HUF 10,000 a month and some non-profit organization employees were paid an average HUF 9,600 a month compensation in January-May, to prevent earlier tax changes from cutting their net income. The compensation is not part of the wage.

Analyst Gergely Gabler of Erste Bank Hungary told Hungarian news agency MTI that it was the first time the wage growth was higher including fostered workers than excluding them. Explaining the anomaly, Gabler suggests that the number of fostered workers fell sharply in May, probably because winter work schemes were winding up.

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