FM: Government aims to further increase labor activity rate

The government has created a million jobs since 2010, bringing the labor activity rate to 75 percent.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the government aims to further increase its “already record-high” labor activity rate to 85% over the coming years.

Minister Szijjártó told a joint press conference, with International Labor Organization (ILO) Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo, that the government has created a million jobs since 2010, bringing the labor activity rate to 75 per cent. But, he added, recent crises and threats had resulted in severe economic challenges. Minister Szijjártó said the pandemic and the war in Ukraine had both upset the global economy, making job protection a serious challenge. He noted that 14 years ago the government had put forward a plan to create a labor-based society based on the principle that everyone who wants to work should be able to. “And this is what we’ve had to protect twice over the last five years, and the good news is that we managed to protect Hungarian jobs twice…” Minister Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary was one of just a few countries where the employment rate in the post-pandemic period exceeded pre-pandemic levels thanks to the government’s investment promotion and job protection strategy.

Minister Szijjártó said that to reach a labor activity rate of 85%, Hungary needed more investment, needed to mobilise its domestic labor market reserves and intensified cooperation between the education sector and economic players. He noted that Hungary has been a member of the ILO for 102 years and has recently been re-elected into its Governing Body. He welcomed that the organization operates its regional office in Budapest with more than 30 staff members. Minister Szijjártó said that at their meeting he and Houngbo had touched on two security crises that required important job protection and creation efforts from the international community. One of these crises, he said, was the European refugee crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine. He insisted that Hungary had welcomed more than 1.3 million refugees since the start of the war and the government has been supporting businesses that employ refugees who choose to stay in the country. Szijjártó said the other crisis was the migration crisis, emphasising the seriousness of projections of Africa’s significant population growth over the coming decades. “This is why it’s important for the international community to implement a comprehensive economic development strategy in Africa so that African countries are able to provide jobs for the growing population,” the minister said. “Because if … we can’t create enough jobs in Africa, there can be two possible consequences: either the greatest migration crisis of all time or one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of all time.” “We want to avoid both, and we will continue to pursue the strongest possible cooperation with the ILO in order to be successful at these tasks,” Szijjártó said.