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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).

The Labor Force Survey will use a new questionnaire (EU model questionnaire) from January 2021 in accordance with the relevant legislation.

Following the implementation of IESS, it has become clear that in accordance with the regulations, from 2021 onwards an additional group of child care benefit recipients is to be considered employed. In addition to persons that are working while receiving child care benefits, persons who last worked before receiving said benefits, received cash benefits during their absence and can return to their previous job after receiving the allowance are also considered employed. The classification depends only on these 3 conditions, the length of time spent away from work is not an influencing factor.

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.

Since January 1, 2021, additionally to persons working while receiving child care benefit, persons that have worked before requisitioning child care benefit, who are recipients of benefits during their absence and at the end of the receiving period will go back to their previous places of work (and thus were previously considered inactive or unemployed) are also considered employed. In other words, persons permanently absent from work due to receiving child care benefit are considered employed. Due to this change in the methodology, the employment rates of women have significantly changed. Time series have been revised back to 2009, so direct comparisons are possible in the period 1992-2008 and in the period since 2009.

Unemployed persons: are those who neither worked, nor had a job from which they were temporarily (or in the case of recipients of child care benefit were permanently) absent, who were actively seeking work in the four weeks before the reference week and were available for work at the time of the survey, i.e. could start work within two weeks following the reference week if a proper job was found. Those who found a job and start working there within 90 days are only considered to be unemployed if they could start work within two weeks following the reference week.

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

Economically inactive: persons are those who cannot be classified either as employed or unemployed. Among others, students, pensioners who do not work, housewives, seasonal workers out of the season, in case they do not seek a job.

Potential labour reserve includes the unemployed, the underemployed and the inactive who intend but do not actively look for work or do not meet the availability criteria.

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.

The Labour Force Survey is based on a multi-stage stratified probability sample design. In case of larger, "self-representing" settlements the primary sampling units are dwellings. On the other hand, in case of smaller settlements, the first stage of sampling is the selection of settlements. Since 1998, the number of addresses selected for the sample in a quarter is about 38 thousand. The survey is continuous, the quarterly sample consists of three statistically independent monthly sub-samples. The basis of grossing up is the population number in the survey period estimated with the help of a mathematical model. The number of population (living in private households) in each population group is calculated by multiplying the sample values of the different strata with the proper weight and summing them up.

Monthly values – due to the fluctuation of individual monthly samples – are defined by model-estimation, therefore their 3-month averages might deviate from to the published averages calculated directly from raw survey results.

From the reference month of January 2023, administrative data from the National Tax and Customs Administrations and the National Employment Service are used to produce a more precise estimation.

The main indicators regarding participation in the labour market (employed persons, employment rate, unemployed persons, unemployment rate, economically active persons, potential labour reserve) are still calculated using quarterly estimates and 3-month averages of the Labour Force Survey, which are not affected by the model-estimation.

The look-up tables show sampling errors at 95% confidence-level regarding the year 2023.

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

Time series based on the new methodology are traced back to the first quarter of 2009. The classification of economic activity has been made 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 till the first quarter 2012. Afterwards the continuous transition to the computer aided data collection began. Since November 2012, the survey has been done only by CAPI. In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic the previously in person interviews have been largely replaced by telephone interviews, and the methodology prevalent from January 2021 made the introduction of a new EU harmonized model questionnaire necessary. Due to the change of the mode and tool (questionnaire) of interviewing, increase of non-sampling error is expected.

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 (from July 2020 including social security 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 (as of July 2020 together social security 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.

Gross earnings in full time equivalent is calculated by dividing the sum of earnings of full time and part time employees (inlcuding those working less than 60 hours/month) by the total of average staff number of employees. The earnings of part time employees into full time equivalent is calculated on the basis of weekly contractual working hours.

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.)

Real earnings: the ratio of growth in net earnings and the consumer price index.

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. According to the ILO definition, one strike is considered if there are temporary work stoppages, due to one labour dispute, occurring among employees in several establishments at a different times in which the period between stoppages is not more than two months.

Seasonal adjustment

For seasonal adjustment of Labour Force Survey data the TRAMO/SEATS method with JDemetra+ is used. Neither working day & leap year nor Eastern effects are included in the models.

Data sources of 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.

In 2018 there was a methodological correction, it has caused a one-off, major rearrangement in the composition of the reference population, so, in terms of total values (number of employees, total earnings, wages and salaries according to the SNA concept, total hours worked) published since January 2018, there is a significant break in the time series. The comparability of the target indicators of the institutional labour statistical data collection, i.e. the published specific indicators (e.g. averge earnings, working hours per capita) is not basically limited by the above phenomenon. For publishing indices expressing the percentage change compared to the same period of the previous year, from January 2018, we use the estimate filtering out the effect of the methodological change outlined above, therefore, the published indices may differ from the values that can be calculated from the data published earlier.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. Due to the above changes, there is a break in the time series between 2019 and the previuos years indicated by a line in the respective tables.

Territorial employment data are classified according to the employer's employer's head office.

The scope of reference of the published data, unless otherwise stated, includes the whole circle of employers (that is, the whole circle of enterprises employing employees, non-profit organisations and all budgetary institutions) from the reference year of 2019. The scope of reference for data before 2019 covers enterprises employing at least 5 persons, all budgetary institutions as well as non-profit organisations that are significant in terms of employment 2019.

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.

Other definitions

Early school-leavers: early leavers from education and training denotes the percentage of the population aged 18 to 24 having attained at most lower secondary education and not being involved in further education or training.

Highest educational attainment: the highest level of education successfully completed within the framework of formal education system, and confirmed by an official certificate or diploma. The educational levels currently used are in line with the educational levels defined in the current ISCED-11 international classification.

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