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“I believe in simple things – work, homeland, families,” Prime Minister Orbán said earlier this week in his address to the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce. He then reiterated the four pillars that define Hungary’s economy policies: competitiveness, a workfare society, good demographics and identity-based politics. “All decisions made by this government could fit into these categories.”
The latest numbers are out. Unemployment has reached a record low of 3.8 percent. According to 2017 fourth quarter data released last week by the Central Statistical Office, unemployment has been on the decline for 66 consecutive months.
Péter Cseresnyés, state secretary of the economy ministry, said that Hungary’s jobless rate stood at 11.6 percent before the current government took power in 2010. Today more than 700,000 people have a job compared with seven years ago
Hungary’s economic turnaround is gaining steam. Official data from the fourth quarter shows GDP growth will reach 4.1 percent in 2017, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said recently.
When the Orbán Government entered office in 2010, the prime minister said that Hungary would offer employment over welfare checks. Critics quickly denounced it as inhumane. Seven years on, 741 thousand more Hungarians have jobs. Tens of thousands that suffered from long-term unemployment have rejoined the active labor force, reclaiming their dignity and self-respect, and it has helped many out of poverty.
“Hungary is continuously doing better, economic growth is higher than the European Union average and we can expect significant growth over the remainder of the year as well,” said the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office
Lately, Central Europe has become the driving force behind the European Union’s economic development. In the third quarter of this year, the EU’s economy expanded by 2.5 percent while Hungary’s GDP grew by 3.6 percent, and the V4 as a whole have been out-performing much of the rest of the EU.
With record-low unemployment, steadily increasing wages and other rock-solid indicators, the Hungarian economy is healthier than it’s been in years. The economic performance of Central Europe has become the driving force for growth in the EU, but that’s not the only reason why Hungarians can now be proud of their achievements over the course of the last seven years.
The jobless rate of 4.2 percent “after a steady decline in the unemployment rate for 61 months, is due to the substantial growth of the economy and the government’s successful employment policy," according to the ministry for National Economy
Hungary’s economy hit the ground running this year. The major indicators are trending positive and international investors have taken note. Signs of a strong recovery, however, do not mean we can rest. Instead, said Prime Minister Orbán, it means that it’s time to dream big.
The prime minister said similar attempts to increase wages have been made several times in the past 26 years, but no comprehensive agreement had ever been reached. The Hungarian government has now succeeded in achieving that
Prime Minister Orbán’s economic program sets out a number of ambitious goals. It demands fiscal discipline to keep the budget deficit not only under the three-percent Maastricht threshold but low enough to reduce nominal state debt. It calls for GDP growth to increase from the current level between 2 and 3 percent to a more robust output above 3 percent and sets a longer term goal of five percent. And it aims to create jobs to bring the labor market to full employment.