In 2010, following eight years of socialist-liberal government, joblessness reached 11.8 percent. Over the last seven years, working age adults have rejoined the active labor force and found jobs. According to recent figures, 741 thousand more people are employed today than in 2010, reaching almost 4.5 million.
What’s more, much of the jobs growth is coming from the private sector. Some 88 thousand more Hungarians are employed in the primary, domestic labor market, while the number of those employed in the public sector shrank by 39 thousand, and 13 thousand workers returned from abroad.
Thanks to the government’s Job Protection Action Plan and the Youth Guarantee program, the youth unemployment rate has dropped to 10.2 percent.
One of the Orbán Government’s top priorities has been to help the country’s labor reserves – i.e., inactives, unemployed, mothers with small children, pensioners – find their way back to the job market. Vocational and adult training schemes have been expanded, the minimum wage has been increased significantly, and the employers’ tax burden decreased, contributing to better labor market efficiency and competitiveness.
The record low 3.8 percent unemployment is not an accident. It’s the result of comprehensive labor market reforms – a determination to move from welfare to workfare – economic development programs, tax cuts and an important increase in the minimum wage.
Hungary’s economic turnaround stands out in the way it shows that reaching nearly full employment is not impossible and a workfare society can become reality. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.