April 28, 2020 / 7:19 AM / a month ago

Hungary jobless ranks swell by 56,000 in March - stats

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s official unemployment rate rose slightly to an average of 3.7% in the January-March period, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the figure does little to reflect the effects of the coronavirus.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has hit Hungary as badly as many other countries as a lockdown has been in place since mid-March, with most stores and service sector businesses closed.

Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said the economic contraction could exceed 3% in 2020.

The number of newly jobless in March swelled by 56,000, the KSH said, adding that most of those people boosted the inactive ranks as they are yet to formally begin their job search.

Compared to the same period last year, the decline is less marked, with 22,000 fewer people working in March than a year prior.

Reporting by Marton Dunai

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