Gross wage growth slows to annual 2.7pc in March

Budapest, May 18 (MTI) – A big rise in the number of Hungarians participating in low-paying public work programmes was the likely reason for a slowdown in wage growth in March, analysts told MTI on Friday.

The Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Friday that gross wages rose 2.7 percent year-on-year in March after a 6.8 percent rise in February. The growth of regular wages, excluding one-off premiums and bonuses, also slowed, to 3.6 percent.


January-March gross wages rose 4.4 percent, of which regular wages rose 6.2 percent year-on-year.


March net wages were unchanged in twelve months after a 3.6 percent rise in February. Net wages in the first quarter were up 1.6 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.


The average gross monthly wage came to 222,741 forints (EUR 747) in March, including 206,917 forints in regular wages. The net wage, excluding family allowances, averaged 144,204 forints (EUR 484).


The rise of business sector gross wages slowed to 5.8 percent in the twelve months to March and gross wages in the public sector fell 4.5 percent in the period.


Takarekbank’s chief analyst Gergely Suppan said wage growth was significantly influenced by the growing proportion of public work programme participants, which put downward pressure on the average wage. He noted that public sector wages, which include participants in such programmes, fell 4.5 percent during the period as headcount in the sector rose by 4.1 percent.


Although the data show no inflationary pressure, Suppan said National Bank of Hungary rate-setters were unlikely to loosen monetary policy because of stability risks and because of a probable overshoot of the 3 percent mid-term inflation target.


Zoltan Arokszallasi of Erste Bank also said the increase in the number of public work programme participants weighed on wage growth. He added that their number could continue to grow in the coming months, bringing full-year wage growth to 5 percent.

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