Hungary’s three-month rolling average jobless rate was at 3.8% in April, up 0.1 percentage point from the previous month and 0.3 percentage point from twelve months earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said.
The rate covers unemployment among those between the ages of 15 and 74. In absolute terms, there were 174,100 unemployed, 1,100 more than in the previous month and up 11,700 from a year earlier.
KSH noted that the February-April period was still not fully impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, saying 73,000 people lost their jobs in April. The unemployment rate in the 25-54 age group rose to 3.5%. The rate in the 55-74 age group was little changed at 2.1%. Out-of-work Hungarians spent about 9.2 months on average looking for employment during the period, and 25.7% of the unemployed had been seeking work for one year or longer. The number of jobholders stood at 4,435,900 among 15-74-year-olds, 55,700 less than in the same period a year earlier. The employment rate was 59.9%, compared to 60.5% a year earlier. That number included 96,200 Hungarians in fostered work programmes and 101,600 working abroad. The number of those employed on the domestic primary labour market fell by 0.5% from a year earlier to 4,238,100, while the number of fostered workers dropped by 18.1%. The number of those working abroad fell by 12.0%.
Commenting on the data, analysts said the labour market was likely to see a slow readjustment after the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions. Gábor Regős of the Századvég Research Institute said the labour market would slowly return to normal in the coming months. Employment will only reach pre-epidemic levels slowly, however, as several sectors will take time to rebound, he said.
Takarékbank analyst András Horváth said that if the current jobless were defined as jobseekers instead of as inactive, the April unemployment rate was 6%. Horváth forecasted the jobless rate remaining below 7% in the coming months and averaging around 6% by year-end. Péter Virovácz of ING Bank said data on the epidemic’s impact on the labour market was still incomplete. The jobless rate in the second half of 2020 is expected around 7%, he said.