Oct 04, 2019

Hungary’s 10-year real wage growth among best in Europe

While real wages fell in nine EU countries between 2008-2017 and average EU salaries stagnated, Hungarians now earn 14.4 percent more than they did 10 years ago.

Citing data from Italian economic research institute Centro Studi Impresa Lavoro, conservative weekly Mandiner’s analyst Dániel Oláh finds that despite real wage drops and overall stagnation in most EU countries, Hungarian salaries increased by 14.4 percent between 2008 and 2017, a figure that’s the sixth best in the EU28.

According to the study, real wages have plummeted by a painful 31 percent in Greece, 15 percent in Cyprus, almost 9 percent in Italy and a solid 6 percent in Spain. Meanwhile, Croatia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Portugal have registered drops between 1 and 5 percent.

Bulgaria tops the list with a 30 percent leap in real earnings, followed by Romania and Poland. Although Hungary ranks sixth, Dániel Oláh highlights that had the analysis included data for 2018 and Q2 2019, the country would have probably scored higher on the leaderboard. The 3.4 percent EU average real wage growth, however, shows signs of stagnation.

Besides wage growth, the Hungarian economy has so far defied the global economic slowdown with a healthy 5.1 percent GDP growth in the first half of 2019, clearly outperforming not only most EU countries, but also its highly successful neighbors and the V4. Public debt dropped well below 70 percent and stands at an 11-year low and investments rose by nearly 19 percent in Q2 2019.