Jobless rate at 4 percent in August

Hungary's jobless rate reached 4.0 percent in August, edging up 0.1 percentage point from the previous month and 0.2 percentage point from twelve months earlier, data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Tuesday show.

The rate covers unemployment among people between the ages of 15 and 74.

In absolute terms, there were 194,100 unemployed, up by 4,900 from the previous month, and by 8,700 more than a year earlier.

The jobless rate for the 15-64 age group also stood at 4.0 percent in August.

KSH noted that data from the National Employment Service (NFSZ) show there were 256,000 registered jobseekers at the end of August, down by 25.8 percent from twelve months earlier.

The employment rate for the 15-74 age group reached 63.6 percent in August, down by 0.4 percentage point from a month earlier. In absolute terms, there were 4,678,400 employed, 25,900 fewer than in July, but 23,900 more than twelve months earlier.

The number of economically active workers in the age group stood at 4,872,600, an activity rate of 66.3 percent.

ING Bank senior analyst Peter Virovacz noted the jobless rate has changed little for the past four months, while the number of economically active Hungarians has stabilised under 4.9 million. He said it appears that labour supply cannot be expanded in the current regulatory environment, squeezing the labour market as the economy “races ahead”, and adding to inflationary pressure as wages rise.

He augured a decline in unemployment to 3.8 percent by year-end and said higher wages could raise the number of economically active Hungarians.

K+H chief analyst David Nemeth said Hungarians rejoining the labour market are being hired right away, preventing a decline in the jobless rate.

Takarekbank head analyst Andras Horvath said Hungary could see a labour market shortage in the second half of the year like the one a year and a half earlier, driving up wages and creating upside inflationary risks. He put unemployment at 4.0 percent in 2021 and projected a decline to 3.3 percent in 2022.

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