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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hungary Unemployment November to January

Hungary's 15 to 64 unemployment rate jumped to 8.2% year on year over the November 2007-January 2008 period, reaching a 10-year high, and up from 7.8% in Q4 over the October-December period, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) reported on Thursday. The KSH calculate three month moving averages. Given that the move from the previous 3 month average has been so significant, we can assume the move in January was equally so.

The number of registered unemployed in the January data was up to 342 thousand from the 327 thousand recorded in the previous month's data. Of course some increase in unemployment is normal at this time of year, but it is the comparison with the numbers from a year ago which you can see in the chart that is telling.

The current unemployment rate compares with the 7.5 percent level which existed a year-ago and is the highest since the first quarter of 1998, according to the statistics office. The number of Hungarians employed fell to 3.87 million from 3.94 million in the same period a year-ago period. 45 percent of those who are unemployed have now been unemployed for more than a year.

The KSH said the number of unemployed was 342,600 and the number of employed totalled 3,873,300 in the period examined. The latter figure compares with 3.909 m in Oct-Dec 2007 and 3.939 m in the same period of 2006/07. The number of unemployed rose by 14,800 from the previous 3-m period and was up by 25,100 from the reading in the same period of 2006/07.

The increase is largely due to both private and public sector lay offs (employment is DOWN 66,000 y/y) - even though the impact of this is not fully reflected in the unemployment rate as the economically active population also declined by 41,000 y/y signalling that many of those who lost jobs withdrew from the labour market, in many cases via early retirement schemes."

This drop in both the participation and activity rates is preoccupying, since with Hungary's population declining and ageing it is very necessary to put a significantly higher proportion of the available working age population to work to make the health and pension systems (even when reformed further) sustainable.

1 comment:

Antal Dániel said...

Here is a bit of information on the growing heterogeneity of the Hungarian unemployment across the country.