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Oct 04, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

Record-breaking investment, wages up, unemployment down

Labeled the black sheep of Europe a few years ago, with an economy that required IMF emergency bailout, Hungary’s economic success story continues to yield record-breaking numbers. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the latest

Many critics doubted Prime Minister Viktor Orbán when he laid out his comprehensive plan to transform Hungary into a workfare society, a market where everyone who wants to work can find a job and earn enough to make it worthwhile. Now, in 2018, Hungary boasts record levels of employment, a significant increase in investment creating more jobs and climbing wages.

What’s this if not the definition of a workfare economy?

Hungary continues to enjoy record-low unemployment, now down to 3.6 percent from 4.2 percent at the same time last year. Hungary’s Central Statistical Office reported that in absolute terms, there were 166,200 unemployed in Hungary in May-July, 1,100 more than in April-June but 27,200 fewer than in the same period a year earlier.

Following an in-depth review of investment potential around the globe last May, Global Best To Invest ranked Hungary among the top ten investment destinations in the world, while IBM awarded our country a prestigious seventh place  in its 2017 Global Location Trends report. On top of this, it named Hungary’s Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) the best investment promotion agency in the region.

This impressive ranking hardly comes as a surprise considering that investment in Hungary has grown a robust 13.4 percent since last year and touches all sectors of the economy. Some sectors, however, saw unmatched results: in the commercial accommodation and catering sector, the volume of investment grew by 21 percent, the construction sector increased by 29 percent, and investment in the energy sector saw an astonishing 67 percent growth.

Hand-in-hand with booming investment figures, we see a steady increase in wages. According to official data published last month, the average gross salary stands at 341,719 HUF while the net figure has reached nearly 220 thousand forints per month. The volume of growth translates to a 12.8 percent salary hike year-on-year.

Hungary’s wage increases, according to a chart published recently by the Financial Times, outpace the EU average and even all of the other Central European economies. 

Meanwhile, as a result of strict fiscal policy, Hungary’s state debt has fallen by seven percent to 73.3 percent since 2010, and the annual government deficit remains well below the three percent limit prescribed by the Maastricht criteria.

Prime Minister Orbán has said that his government’s goal is help Hungary’s economy reach full employment, a place where truly everyone who wants to work can find a job that pays a decent wage. As investment continues, wages increases and GDP continues to grow, that goal, something that seemed impossible back in 2010, now appears within reach.