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January jobless rate 4.5 percent

Hungary's jobless rate stood at 4.5 percent in January, up from 4.2 percent in December, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Friday. The rate covers unemployment among people between the ages of 15 and 74.

In absolute terms, there were 222,000 unemployed in January, 14,700 more than in December.

The rolling three-month average jobless rate stood at 4.6 percent in January, inching up from 4.4 percent in December.

KSH noted that data from the National Employment Service (NFSZ) show there were 233,000 registered jobseekers at the end of January, down 4.4 percent from twelve months earlier.

The employment rate for the 15-74 age group was 64.4 percent in January, down from 64.7 percent in December. In absolute terms, there were 4,698,500 people employed in January, 24,900 fewer than in December.

The number of economically active people in the age group stood at 4,920,600, giving Hungary an activity rate of 67.4 percent.

Commenting on the data, Sandor Czomba, the state secretary for employment policy, said the government had been successful in protecting jobs and families, noting that the number of jobholders had grown by 1 million since the tenure of the previous Socialist governments.

The government this year is focused on achieving a GDP growth rate of 4 percent, restoring consumption, keeping the investment rate above 25 percent and increasing labour-market activity, he said.

The state secretary said a 460 billion forint (EUR 1.19bn) GINOP Plusz European Union-funded economic development scheme would contribute to raising the activity rate of the 15-64 age group to 85 percent from the current 78 percent.

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