BUDAPEST: The average gross monthly wage in Hungary rose by an annual 12.9 percent to 296,100 forints (EUR 968) in May, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday. Net wages grew at the same pace as gross wages did, also climbing 12.9 percent to 196,900 forints.
KSH noted that wages have been boosted by a higher minimum wage as well as pay increases in certain segments of the public sector and at state-owned public service provider companies. Excluding the 171,400 Hungarians in fostered work programmes in May, the average gross wage rose by 11.6 percent to 310,314 forints, while net wages also increased by 11.6 percent to 206,358 forints. The number of fostered workers was up from 169,300 in April, but was down from 218,000 in May 2016. Analysts polled by MTI said that a slower increase in May had been primarily due to seasonal effects, and added that real wages could grow by an annual 10 percent in 2017. They said wages could grow faster in jobs requiring skills in demand, as suggested by wage agreement signed in recent months. Commenting on the data, Economy Minister Mihály Varga told public news channel M1 that over the past months the Hungarian economy had seen its highest wage growth of the last 15 years. He attributed the increases to Hungary’s economic growth and a 6-year agreement signed between the government, unions and employers to increase the minimum wage at the end of 2016. The minister said that over the coming years Hungary could narrow or even close the wage gap with other countries in the region.