Hungary’s employment level grew in 2013 and is set to exceed 4 million in 2014, Sandor Czomba, the state secretary in charge of labour, said in a year-end interview.
Hungary’s jobless rate fell below 10 percent in a recent count and the number of employed was 235,000 higher than in 2010, at the time the current government came into power. The rise included 80,000 people enrolled in public works schemes, 50,000 who held jobs abroad for less than a year and 100,000 in the private sector, Czomba told MTI.
He said the number of Hungarians working abroad, though impossible to predict precisely, has risen, but most of them return home within 12 months. Part of the reason for Hungarians seeking jobs abroad is the opening of the German and Austrian labour markets in May 2011, he said.
Czomba said jobs must be created to lure Hungarians back home as well as government measures, such as policy to spend 60 percent of EU funding in 2014-2020 on economic development.
He noted that 740,000 people enjoyed the benefits of the government’s Job Protection Scheme in 2013, which offers reductions to employers in contributions to help hiring or prevent layoffs. Another scheme has helped 14,000 career-starters to jobs and promoted the return of young mothers to work. The latter will also be helped by new measures allowing work while on childcare benefit as of Jan. 2014, he said.
Czomba said free entrepreneur zones would be promoted in the 2014-2020 EU financial framework period.
He added that projections outline 60,000-80,000 more jobs in 2014.
The minimum wage and recommended wage rise agreements reached between employer and employee representatives and the government are acceptable and realistic. It is hoped that companies can finance such pay rises without taking out loans or shredding jobs, he added.
An agreement for 3.5 percent average wage hikes and the minimum wage to rise by 3.6 percent to 101,500 forints (336 euros) in 2014 was signed on Dec. 20.