BUDAPEST: The average gross wage in Hungary rose by 10.7 percent year-on-year to 274,800 forints (EUR 848) in February, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Thursday. Net wages grew at the same rate as gross wages, also climbing by 10.7 percent to 182,700 forints (EUR 582.9). KSH noted that wages have been boosted by a higher minimum wage as well as pay increases for social services and healthcare workers and state employees in the cultural sector. Excluding the 187,600 Hungarians in fostered work programmes in February, the average gross wage rose by 10.5 percent to 288,797 forints (EUR 921), while net wages also increased by 10.5 percent to 192,050 forints (EUR 612.6). Full-time fostered workers earned gross 80,643 forints (EUR 257.2) on average during the month, 2 percent more than in the same period a year earlier.
Their number fell by an annual 3.2 percent. Calculating with February twelve-month CPI of 2.9 percent, real wages were up 7.6 percent. Regular gross wages rose by 11.2 percent to 262,047 forints (EUR 836), and rose by 11.0 percent to 275,133 forints (EUR 877.7) without fostered workers. Excluding fostered workers, business sector gross wages rose at a below-average rate of 9.3 percent year-on-year, and regular wages in the sector rose by 9.9 percent. Also without fostered workers, gross public sector wages were up by 14.2 percent in the year to February, including a 14.3 percent rise in regular wages. Under a mid-term wage agreement struck late in 2016 the minimum wage for unskilled and skilled workers rose by 15 percent and 25 percent, respectively, from the start of 2017, and will rise another 8pc and 12 percent, respectively, from 2018. The minimum monthly wage for full-time unskilled labour is 127,500 forints (406.7) and it is 161,000 forints (513.6) for skilled labourers in 2017.
January-February gross wages were up by 10.3 percent with and rose by 10.1 percent without fostered workers from a year earlier. Excluding fostered workers, business sector gross wages rose by 9.1 percent and public sector wages rose by 13.2 percent in the period. The number of employees was up 4.4 percent overall at 3,086,100 in February and rose by 4 percent in January-February. The rise was bigger: 5 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively if fostered workers were excluded. The number of business sector employees rose by 6.1 percent to 2,076,400 in February without the 8,300 people working as fostered workers in the sector. The number rose by 5.4 percent in January-February. Excluding the 164,100 people employed in the sector, the number of public sector employees fell by 0.5 percent to 692,000 in February.
The January-February average was down by 0.3 percent year-on-year. Excluding fostered workers, employment in the business sector has been rising since the autumn of 2013 while the numbers have been falling in the public sector since December 2015. The number of fostered workers started to fall year-on-year last August, reflecting a change in government policy. Analyst Gergely Urmossy of Erste Bank told MTI he expected gross wages to grow by around 10 percent this year after a 6.2 percent rise in 2016, with real wages rising at 7-8 percent. Andras Horvat of Takarekbank noted a considerable upward risk in wage growth with skilled labour shortages in several professions.