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2.1. Labour market

In employment statistics due to the diversity of data sources, accounting methods and the surveyed population, the same phenomenon is described by numerically differing data. Data discrepancies – even in case of basic data – may exceed the statistically accepted rate, therefore information deriving from various data sources are not interchangeable. Table contents and methodology of this Chapter follow classification by data sources.

Economic activity, unemployment

The Hungarian Central Statistical Office has introduced a new statistical survey in January 1992 to obtain current information on the labour force status of the Hungarian population. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a household survey which provides quarterly information on non-institutional population aged 15–74. The aim of the survey is to observe the employment and unemployment according to the international statistical recommendations based on the concepts and definitions recommended by the ILO independently from the existing national labour regulations or their changes.

In the LFS the population surveyed is divided according to their economic activity performed in the reference week (the week running from Monday to Sunday).

Employed persons: those persons who worked one hour or more for pay or profit or had a job from which they were temporarily absent (due to sick leave, vacation, etc.) during the reference week.

Unemployed persons: who had not worked on the reference week, and had no job from which they were temporarily absent; had been actively looking for work in four weeks before the survey; could have started working within two weeks, if a proper job had been found, or already found a job to start within 30 days before 2002, or within 90 days from 2003.

Economically actives: employed and unemployed persons who are present in the labour market.

Economically inactives: persons who did not work in the reference week, did not have regular income from work and did not even seek a job, or searched for one but would not have been able to start working within two weeks.

Within economically inactive persons, the number of recipients of pension and other allowances includes those who receive old-age pension, allowance for persons before reaching the legal retirement age, disability or rehabilitation allowance, widow's pension/allowance, parental pension, temporary widow's pension/allowance.

Passive unemployed: within economically inactive persons those who want a job, and could enter a job within two weeks, but who have given up any active search for work, because they consider it hopeless.

Activity rate: the ratio of economically active persons to the population of corresponding age.

Unemployment rate: the ratio of unemployed persons to the economically active population of corresponding age.

Employment rate: the ratio of employed persons to the population of corresponding age.

From 1992, on the average, nearly 24 thousand households were designated to the sample of the Labour Force Survey, while since 1998 interviewers have visited nearly 38 thousand households quarterly in order to collect information, according to the recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO), on the economic activity of the population aged 15–74 living there. Between 1992 and 2002 the survey was conducted each month in the week comprising the 19th day of the month, while since 2003 it has been conducted continuously covering each week of the month (quarter, year). If a variable (after grossing up) involves an occurrence of 2500 to 4999 persons, the data are to be regarded with reservation because due to the high survey error rate they may be incorrect; in case of occurrence of fewer than 2500 persons, the data are not usable.

Grossing up of data between 1992 and 1997 was based on the 1990 census, whereas that of data between 1998 and 2005 was implemented by means of the weighting system based on the adjusted population number of 2001 census.

From December 2014, grossing up of LFS data is based on the adjusted population number of 2011 census. To ensure comparability, previous estimates have been modified by the new weighting system dating back to 2006.

The linearized jack-knife technique has been used in sampling error computations of LFS.

The look-up tables show sampling errors at 95% confidence-level regarding the year 2019.

Rounding of data was made electronically – without any individual correction – therefore, the sum of the part figures does not always equal to the rounded value of the total.

Until 2008, the economic activity of employers was classified according to NACE Rev.1.1, however, in 2008, data were published according to NACE Rev.2 as well. Since 2009, the classification of economic activity has been made only according to NACE Rev.2.

Until 2010, the classification of occupations was done on the basis of HSCO-93, however from 1st January 2011 data have been published only on the basis of HSCO-08.

The survey was done via paper-and-pencil interviewing until the first quarter of 2012. Afterwards, the continuous transition to the computer assisted data collection has begun. From November 2012, during the survey, the interviewers use laptops.

Institutional labour data collection system

Employees: are members of staff who have a legally binding relationship with their employers based on a working contract, regulating that they work at least 60 hours per month for financial compensation.

Statistical staff number of employees is the total of all employees with the exception of those permanently on leave for defined purposes (e.g. maternity leave, child-care provisions, active military service, sick-leave longer than 1 month, unpaid leave etc.).

Gross earnings (as defined by the HCSO) is the total of all earnings: basic wages and other wage elements paid under different titles to employees (wage supplements, bonuses, premiums, 13th month salary). Basic wages include personal income tax, health insurance and pension contributions and labour market contributions. (See statistical documentation.)

Regular gross earnings (as defined by the HCSO) is the difference of gross earnings and non-regular earnings elements such as premiums, 13th month salary and bonuses. As of 2019, monthly regular earnings are partly calculated by statistical estimation (for details see statistical documentation).

Net earnings (without tax benefits) derive from gross earnings by subtracting personal income tax, health insurance and pension contribution and labour market contribution. The calculation of net earnings without tax benefits does not take into account tax and social security benefits and allowances.

Median earnings is the middle value that divides a population into two equal groups, half having an income above that amount, and half having an income below that amount in a given staff group. Reported data refer to monthly averages (including data for cumulative periods) and full time employees unless otherwise noted. Data are calculated on the basis of a new administrative data source introduced as of 2019. Source for median earnings before 2019: Structure of Earnings Survey, National Employment Office.

Gross wages and salaries (work-related earnings, earnings in accordance with the SNA concept): in addition to earnings elements gross wages and salaries include "other income" such as benefits in cash and in kind, which are part of wages and salaries according to international definition. Such elements are e.g.: dwelling cost reimbursements, meal vouchers, transport cost reimbursements, reimbursements of costs connected to company car ensured exclusively for own use, jubilee rewards, presents, etc.

Average gross earnings (average wages and salaries): is the ratio of nominal gross earnings (nominal gross wages and salaries) and the number of employees in a given staff category. Average earnings (wages and salaries) refer to monthly data and persons employed full-time if not specified otherwise (in monthly and quarterly publications as well.) (Until 2003 average earnings referred to full-time employees working in their main jobs.)

Labour costs: all costs connected to employing "living labour", the widest range of direct or indirect remuneration of employees including labour income, social costs and training and other cost elements. Employment-related subsidies and contribution allowances decrease, while employment-taxes increase labour costs.

Social costs: statutory contributions of the employer (e.g. social security contribution, employers' contribution, later social contribution tax, rehabilitation contribution), contributions paid according to collective contract, sectoral agreement, individual labour contract (e.g. insurance fees) and social allowances granted directly to and in the interest of the employee (sickness payments, severance payment, wage paid in the period of notice, social benefits, etc.).

Other labour costs: cost elements not belonging to training or other income from work and social costs, increased by taxes and decreased by subsidies connected to employment.

Per capita labour cost, labour cost per hour worked: is the ratio of nominal labour costs of persons employed and the full-time equivalent number of persons employed (hours worked).

Number of job vacancies: statistics based on Eurostat recommendations were introduced in 2004. Job vacancy is defined as a newly created, unoccupied post or a post about to become vacant within 3 months for which the employer is taking active steps to fill in by an employee with a labour contract (e.g. advertisement, call for tender, contacting the National Employment Service or private recruitment offices, colleagues, friends, acquaintances, etc.). Posts to be filled by temping jobs, ad-hoc or business contracts, the internal transfer of existing employees, unpaid apprentices on compulsory training are not considered job vacancies. Posts of people in legal employment relationship with the employer but on long-term leave (maternity leave, military service, sick leave or unpaid leave longer than one month) are not considered job vacancies.

Job vacancy rate: number of job vacancies as a percentage of all jobs (closing number of occupied jobs of persons employed+ job vacancies)

Strike statistics: include data of strike events involving more than 10 people. Surveys are sent only in connection with strike events.

Data sources of interim labour data

Earnings, wages and salaries, hours worked, statistical number of staff, job vacancies filled

Until 2018 the scope of statistical observation included all enterprises with more than 49 employees, while enterprises with 5–49 employees were observed on a representative basis. Budgetary institutions were observed on a full-scope basis and also designated non-profit institutions supplied data.

Concerning budgetary institutions, the data of the central payroll system were taken over from the Hungarian State Treasury, while the data of all other observed institutions were collected through a monthly survey.

Data for earnings, statistical number of staff, wages and salaries and hours worked were collected monthly while job vacancy statistics quarterly.

As of 2019, monthly data concerning the number of employees and gross wages as well as – to calculate vacancy rates – the closing day number of the positions of people involved in the organization's activities are taken over from the social security reports provided by the National Tax and Customs Administration while for budgetary institutions statistics are produced from the data of the central payroll system provided by the Hungarian State Treasury as previously. Wages and salaries, hours worked and regular earnings data are surveyed quarterly as of 2019, similarly to job vacancy statistics.

If not otherwise specified, published data refer to enterprises with least 5 employees, budgetary institutions on a full-scope basis and non-profit institutions which are significant in respect of employment.

Data sources of annual labour statistics

Data on earnings, wages and salaries, annual average statistical number of staff and labour related data of structural business statistics

Until 2005, data related to all enterprises with more than 19 employees and that with 5–19 employees on a representative basis, assigned non-profit institutions and all budgetary and social security institutions were collected. Data concerning budgetary institutions were taken over from the central payroll system of the Hungarian State Treasury, while statistics related to the other observed organisations were collected through a survey. For businesses with fewer than 5 employees, the tax reports of the National Tax and Customs Administration were used as of 2016.

Since 2006 the published annual statistical staff number data refer to the total economy (including micro-enterprises). The data of enterprises not surveyed have been imputed from the available tax records applying different estimation methods. Data on average wages and salaries do not include data of micro-enterprises with 1-4 employees. Annual labour data broken down by regions are produced according to local units and relate to the territory of the county. However, businesses employing fewer than 20 people and businesses in agriculture are published according to their headquarters.

Data sources of labour cost statistics

Quarterly labour costs index, annual labour cost data carried forward, detailed annual labour cost data

The quarterly labour cost indices show the changes of the labour costs and its major components compared to the base year. The elements of the estimated labour costs data relate to enterprises with at least 5 employees, all budgetary, social security institutions and non-profit organisations which are significant in respect of employment. The source of estimated labour cost calculation is the Annual Labour Cost Survey and until 2018 major labour data from the Monthly Labour Survey were taken over as well. As of 2019 data are taken over from the social security report of the National Tax and Customs Administration and the Quarterly labour survey.

The scope of annual labour cost data carried forward is the enterprises with at least 5 employees, all budgetary, social security institutions and non-profit organisations which are significant in respect of employment. Its source is the annual labour cost survey and until 2018 major labour data from the Monthly Labour Survey for estimations for enterprises with 5–49 employees were also taken over. As of 2019 data are taken over from the social security report of the National Tax and Customs Administration and the Quarterly labour survey.

The sources of detailed labour cost data include the annual labour costs survey and administrative data. The scope of detailed labour cost data is the enterprises and non-profit organisations with at least 50 employees and all budgetary and social security institutions. In every 4th year (last occasion in 2016) the observed scope is wider, it includes all enterprises above 19 employees and businesses between 5–19 employees on a representative basis, all budgetary institutions and non-profit organisations which are significant in respect of employment.

Data concerning budgetary institutions are taken over from the central payroll system of the Hungarian State Treasury, while data of other observed organisations are collected through a survey.

Details concerning methodological changes that affect the comparability of data are to be found here.


Registered jobseekers, unemployment benefit

Registered jobseekers: persons who meet the conditions of entering into employment, are not full-time students or entitled to old-age pension, who do not receive rehabilitation annuity, are not in employment relationship except for odd jobs and neither perform any income producing activity, who co-operate with the national employment service in the interest of getting a job and who are registered there as jobseekers.

Registered career-starter jobseekers: among the registered jobseekers, persons younger than 25 years – with tertiary education younger than 30 years – who are registered with the competent local office of NES, meet the conditions of entering into employment and who did not obtain eligibility for jobseekers' allowance after finishing their studies.

Jobseekers' allowance recipients: among registered jobseekers those who met their obligation to pay contribution prior to becoming jobseeker and thus, they are entitled to jobseekers' allowance under the conditions defined in the Employment Act (Act IV/1991). The amendment to the Act on 1 November 2005 expands the entitlement to ex-entrepreneurs as of 1 January 2006. On 1 September 2011, the conditions of receiving jobseekers' allowance changed.

Recipients of jobseekers' assistance among registered jobseekers those who (a) exhausted their (at least 180 days long) entitlement for jobseekers' allowance, (b) had minimum 200 days, maximum 364 days employment before their registration and (c) who have max. 5 years till the retirement age and have exhausted their (at least 140 days long) entitlement for jobseekers' allowance. On 1 September 2011, the above mentioned types (a) and (b) of jobseekers' assistance ceased and the name and conditions of receiving type (c) changed.

Recipients of social benefits: registered jobseekers of active age in a disadvantageous situation on the labour market who are provided social benefits in cash to complete or substitute their income. From 1 January 2009 the beneficiaries of regular social assistance were classified into two groups: recipients of regular social assistance and recipients of availability support. From 1 January 2011 availability support gave place to wage replacement allowance, a new form of benefit. From 1 September 2011 the denomination "wage replacement allowance" changed to employment substitution support. (Act III of 1993 on Social Administration and Social Benefits.)

Number of unfilled vacancies: the number of registered vacancies at the National Employment Service at the end of the month.

Methodological source: Monthly report titled Information on the Main data on the labour market situation based on the administrative records of the National Employment Service monthly report titled (NES, Budapest, 2011).

Source of data: National Employment Services.

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