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Jobless rate at 3.7 percent in December

Hungary's jobless rate was at 3.7 percent in December, falling from 4.1 percent in the same month a year earlier and level with the rate in November, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday.

In absolute terms, there were 179,000 unemployed, 200 fewer than in November and 20,700 fewer than in the same month a year earlier.

The rolling three-month average jobless rate also stood at 3.7 percent in December, as did the rolling three-month average jobless rate for the 15-64 age group.

KSH noted that data from the National Employment Service (NFSZ) show there were 239,000 registered jobseekers at the end of December, down by an annual 17.9 percent.

The employment rate for the 15-74 age group reached 63.9 percent in December, edging up from 63.7 percent in November. In absolute terms, there were 4,686,900 jobholders, 9,400 more than in November and 53,000 more than twelve months earlier, KSH said.

The number of economically active people in the age group stood at 4,865,800, giving Hungary an activity rate of 66.3 percent.

Takarekbank chief analyst Andras Horvath said the labour market has seen a “stable return” to pre-pandemic levels. The average annual jobless rate is expected to fall from 4.1 percent last year to 3.2 percent in 2022, on the back of government measures such as wage support, tax reductions and the conditional repayment moratorium on job preservation, he said.

He added that the tighter labour market would accelerate the pace of pay rises, even as businesses continue to face global parts and capacity shortages, as well as higher energy prices.

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