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Wages increased by over 10 per cent for the fourth year in a row

January 26th, 2019

A pro-government economist welcomes the government’s efforts to raise wages. A left-wing analyst, on the other hand, thinks that low wages entrench inequality in Hungary.

The Central Office of Statistics reported that gross wages in Hungary increased by 11.5 per cent last year.

In Magyar Idők, economist and former Fidesz MP, László Mádi welcomes the government’s efforts to push up wages. Mádi argues that the government’s decision to significantly raise the minimum wage and the simultaneous reduction of employers’ burdens helps Hungarian growth and boosts employment. Mádi also thinks that the labour shortage is an indication that the economy is growing. He finds it even more delightful that people who were for long inactive are finding jobs. Mádi hopes that wages will continue to rise fast and Hungarians who left the country to work abroad will start to return. He adds that to maintain rapid growth, the government needs to help technological innovation as well.

Népszava’s Miklós Bonta contends that low wages and high inequality are taking a high toll on social mobility. The left-wing columnist criticizes the methodology used by the Central Office of Statistics, and claims that the data on average wages puts a significant gloss on the true picture. According to Bonta’s calculations, average wages are at least 20 per cent lower than in the numbers presented by the National Statistical Office. He thinks that low wages make it very difficult for individuals born into poor families to become rich. Bonta claims that due to entrenched inequalities, Hungarians try to become wealthier by joining the government’s economic hinterland which is based on political patronage.

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