Hungary

  • © AFP/Europress

    About the ILO in Hungary


    Missing policy responses to labour market challenges


    Hungary began the transition to a market economy with some advantages over other Central European economies, with higher living standards and a more pragmatic economic policy initiated already before the fall of the Iron Curtain. After the regime change, the country initiated the transformation of its economic system. An important milestone was the EU accession in 2004, which further accelerated economic convergence.

    However, the catching up process is slower than in other Visegrad countries. Hungary’s per capita income is today at 70% of the EU average while it was at 43% in 1991. Current GDP growth rates (5% in 2018 and 2019) are among the highest in the EU, mainly driven by private consumption, investments, and EU funds. Strong employment growth coupled with ongoing labour emigration and a quickly aging society lead to full employment (unemployment rate with 3% far beyond EU average). Employment rates are slightly higher than in EU (74%). Nevertheless, these figures are hiding a considerable gender employment gap. The difference between the employment rates for men and women remains high and is above the EU average (15% vs 11%). Limited childcare provision is one of the drivers of this gap.   Continue reading