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Higher minimum wage, public sector pay keep wage growth in double digits

The average gross wage in Hungary grew by an annual 14.9 percent to 495,900 forints (EUR 1,250) in May, data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Monday show.

The data for full-timers at businesses with at least five people on payroll show the average net wage rose at the same pace to 329,700 forints. The gross median wage increased by 14.5 percent to 397,900 forints.

Hungary’s statutory minimum wage was raised over 19 percent from the start of the year, while the salaries of many people employed in the public sector were bumped up, putting wage growth in the double digits from January.

Real wage growth was 3.8 percent, calculating with May CPI of 10.7 percent.

Excluding the 76,200 Hungarians working full time in fostered work programmes – who earned on average a gross 100,200 forints in May – the average gross monthly wage in Hungary was 506,600 forints.

The average gross wage in the business sector, which includes state-owned companies, rose by 14.0 percent to 506,800 forints, excluding fostered workers. The average gross wage in the public sector, excluding fostered workers, climbed 12.2 percent to 499,000 forints.

Excluding fostered workers, full-timers earned a gross monthly 491,300 forints and a net 326,700 forints.

The Ministry of Technology and Industry (TIM) said in a statement on Monday that real wages carried on increasing despite the epidemic, the war and associated economic and inflation woes, making their upward course unbroken for 113 months.

The rise in the minimum wages and pre-scheduled public sector wage increases also factors in wage growth overall, while the purchasing power was protected by price caps and the maintenance of caps on household energy bills, the ministry said.

Magyar Bankholding chief analyst Andras Horvath said full-year wage growth could climb a little over 16 percent. Higher payroll costs, along with dearer energy and base material prices, could further strengthen businesses’ intentions to raise prices, which could be easily realised amid the current strong demand, he added.

K+H Bank senior analyst David Nemeth said wage growth could fall behind inflation if businesses don’t raise pay in the second half of the year.

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