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Wage growth accelerates to 10.1 percent in November

The rate of annual wage growth in Hungary picked up to 10.1 percent in November from 8.5 percent in the previous month, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Tuesday. The data for businesses and institutions with at least five people on payroll show the average gross monthly wage for full-time employees was 482,400 forints (EUR 1,350), while the average net wage was 320,800 forints.

Calculating with twelve-month CPI of 7.4 percent in November, real wages increased by 2.5 percent.

Excluding the 81,900 Hungarians working full time in fostered work programmes — who earned on average gross 83,300 forints in November — the average monthly wage before tax was 494,100 forints.

The average gross wage in the business sector, which includes state-owned companies, rose by 8.7 percent to 486,400 forints, excluding fostered workers. The average gross wage in the public sector, excluding fostered workers, rose by 10.9 percent to 520,900 forints, showing the impact of gradual wage hikes.

Excluding fostered workers, full-timers earned a gross monthly 477,400 forints and net 317,400 forints.

People working in the ITC sector were the highest earners in November, getting a gross monthly 749,300 forints pay cheque on average. People working in commercial accommodations and catering earned the least: 283,000 forints.

Data for January-November show men earned 19.1 percent more than women during the period.

Analysts said the jump in salaries was due to high inflation and a tight labour market.

Takarekbank analyst Andras Horvath said wage growth surprised on the upside in November and were likely to grow further in 2022 as the 21 percent wage hike for health-care workers and big pay rise for doctors take effect. Scheduled rises in other sectors and a desire on the market to retain and attract workers would probably drive further hikes, Horvath said. The annual rise is expected at 13 percent in 2022, he said. At the same time, he warned of a wage-inflation spiral.

Gabor Regos of the Szazadveg Gazdasagkutato said inflation and the tight labour market were driving accelerating wage increase. Public sector wage rises outpaced the private sector, but even the latter was above inflation, he said.

In December, year-end bonuses and early 2022 wage hikes may drive further raises, he said. The 20 percent hike in the minimum wage, reduced contributions, and a dearth of workers may drive wages to rise by 10-15 percent, he said.

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