Facts & StatisticsLabor & Education

Unemployment in Hungary continues to fall

Latest data show key employment rate well above EU average.

In the three-month period of October-December 2019, the average number of unemployed people was 155 thousand and the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent, the lowest since the April-June period of last year, according to the Central Statistical Office.

In 2019 as a whole, the average number of unemployed was 160 thousand, 12 thousand less than in 2018, while the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, 0.3 percentage points lower than in the previous year.

More than a quarter of the unemployed fall into the 15-24 age category, where the number of unemployed increased to 40,000. The unemployment rate for this group increased by 2.1 percentage points to 12.2 percent in Q4. 

The unemployment rate for those aged 25-54 fell by 0.3 percentage points to 2.9 percent, and by 1 percentage point to 1.7 percent for the 55-74 age group. 

The average number of employees in Q4 2019 was 4 million 520 thousand, 38 thousand more than a year earlier, and the employment rate for those aged 15-64 increased to 70.3 percent. 

For 2019 as a whole, the average number of employees was 4 million 512 thousand, which is 43 thousand more than in the previous year, and the employment rate among 15-64 year-olds was 70.1 percent, 0.9 percentage points higher than in 2018.

Those employed in the primary labor market increased by 52 thousand, while the number of employees working abroad increased by 9.5 thousand. The number of self-employed persons decreased by 24 thousand.

András Horváth, senior analyst at TakarékBank, while 52 thousand new jobs were created in the primary labor, the number of public employees decreased by 24,000. In the 15-74 age group, the number of economically active people increased by 26,000 to 4.7 million in one year.

For the ideal working age group, ages 20-64, 75.6 percent were employed, well above the EU average of 73.2 percent. However, the government will need to make further progress in order to reach the level of employment in the Czech Republic, which stands at 79.9 percent. 

Any further growth in the labor market is expected primarily from those currently inactive.

Horváth noted that with the unemployment rate expected to fall to 3.3 percent for 2020, unless the current decline is just a blip, it would seem that both the inactive and the long-term unemployed will be activated.

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