Labour market outlook
How is the Hungarian labour market evolving in light of European developments? In this article, we look at data from popular EU destinations to put the domestic data into context.
There was a recently published article on HR Portal, on unemployment rates in EU countries. We now look at data from popular EU destinations to put the domestic data in context.
There was a slight shift in the domestic labour market data in December 2022. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9%. The rise has been observed since June, with a 0.6% increase, which is not blatant compared to recent years. At the same time, the employment rate has stagnated (hovering around 74.5% for some time), which at first sight seems paradoxical. This apparent contradiction is due to the fact that the age group of 15-64 is the default age group for the employment rate, while the age group of 15-74 is the default age group for the unemployment rate. Regardless of the age group interval, the Hungarian employment data are therefore still not bad.
The vacancy rate shows some signs of easing, but even there we cannot really speak of a low point, so there are still plenty of open positions, at least as can be seen from the Q3 data. In conclusion, there is no suggestion of a radical easing in the search for labour.
Hungarian labour market developments are broadly in line with those in the EU. If we look at the graph below, we can see that the number of vacancies is declining somewhat, but there is no drastic fall, while it is a fact that the demand side is tightening. The exception is Austria, where the share of open positions continues to increase.
On the supply side, unemployment rates are not moving significantly either, stabilising at a low level. It's as if everything has frozen (except wage levels, because they are rising steadily in this country), so we were about right in our forecast that employers are trying to wait out for as long as they can with downsizing.
Interestingly, the desire to work abroad seems to be having a renaissance.
In more than one professional forum or radio interview, it is reported that an increasing number of foreign employers are recruiting, including in Hungary, by offering teleworking, even without moving abroad, in exchange for much more substantial financial compensation. Another piece of information is that Facebook groups specialising in working abroad and relocating are almost like think tanks, offering both job opportunities and information based on experience. The range of destination countries also seems to be expanding, as the Netherlands and Romania (which is why they are on the charts) are starting to join the list of the usual favourite destinations (Germany, Austria).
This trend is most evident in the Austrian statistics. Looking at the data, it is clear that the number of Hungarians working there is steadily increasing and in December 2022 it was at its highest level in two years.
Source: sozialversicherung.at, HR Portal
The Hungarian labour market is slowly losing labour, although there is no huge turbulence in this area, for the time being.
In terms of earnings, it is worth noting that real wages fell by 4.7% in November 2022, while median gross earnings rose by 17.6%.
To sum it up, it seems that filling positions will still not be easy. If workers try to halt the decline in their real earnings by working abroad even more, the situation will be even more difficult for employers, because they will have to compete with counter-offers measured in euros.
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