Measures adopted by the government, including tax reductions and the agreement concluded by the government and the private sector on minimum wages and guaranteed wage minimums, have contributed to the rise in wages.

In May average gross and net earnings were 11.2 per cent higher than a year earlier, and after the 9.0 per cent rise registered in April, increase was double-digit again. In the first five months of the year, there was a 10.6 per cent rise in wages, and 9.5 per cent not including those involved in public works schemes, the Central Statistical Office announced on Tuesday.

Zoltán Marczinkó, Deputy State Secretary for Labour Market and Corporate Relations of the Ministry of Finance highlighted that businesses have taken advantage of the opportunities they have been given; they are investing, growing and carrying out developments, and this in turn results in increased demand for work force and an increase in wages.

Mr Marczinkó stressed that in Hungary earnings have been on the rise for 77 months, and since 2010 wages have increased by more than 80 per cent. Pay rises have been higher in the private sector than in the public sector, he added.

He observed that among the different sectors, wages continue to remain the highest in the financial services and infocommunications sectors; however, in both sectors the rate of the increase was below average. Wage increases exceeded the average growth rate of 10.6 per cent in agriculture, the construction industry and trade. This shows that workers are now better appreciated in these sectors.

Mr Marczinkó pointed out that the average rate of investments is continuously rising, and it is possible to project the continuation of this favourable trend both for 2019 and 2020. In the first five months, the construction industry expanded by more than 40 per cent, while other sectors, too, produced a high growth rate. In recent months, gross wages have increased in excess of the rise in the guaranteed wage minimum and the minimum wage, and this trend is expected to continue in 2020 as well.

The Deputy State Secretary drew attention to the fact that in Hungary wages are gradually evening out also geographically. Wages continue to remain the highest in Budapest and in the North-West Hungary region; however, differences between wages in these territories and in the rest of the country are decreasing.

(Ministry of Finance/MTI)