As a result of 77 consecutive months of wage growth, Hungarian workers are returning home, Imre Palkovics, president of the Hungarian Workers' Council said on national television channel M1.
Palkovics said that while there is no central database on people working in other EU member states, tax and social insurance data indicate that the net workforce movement balance is positive for Hungary. He said that even in the economic sectors that have previously been virtually deserted by the workforce such as catering and construction, there is an encouraging trend of returns.
According to Rmx.news, the main reason for the change is the continuous growth in domestic real wages, together with the Hungarian government's substantial demographic program that offers young couples sizeable financial benefits for having children. These include state subsidies for building or purchasing homes, tax incentives and an improved nursery network.
Palkovics added though that the average Hungarian wages are still significantly behind those in Western Europe, standing at only one third of them at present. Hungary - with a population of just under 9.8 million - had 441,000 of its citizens living abroad according to the latest available, 2017 statistics. This was 6.8 percent of the working-age population, not the worst, but not the best statistic in the region either. In the Czech Republic, the same ratio was 3.3 percent.
By far the worst-hit among Central and Eastern European countries is Romania, with the number of its citizens leaving the country second only to Syria in the whole world. According to United Nations estimates, 3.4 million Romanians have left their country since 2007 and last year alone its population declined by 70,000. From an all-time high of 23.21 million in 1990, the population of the country dropped to an estimated 19.36 million in 2019.
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