Hungarian opposition leaders scare workers with false unemployment data

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The leaders of Hungary’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Coalition (DK), are consistently spread false information claiming a dire situation in the Hungarian labor market, but domestic and international statistics don’t support their claims, conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reports.

In the past few months, declarations of DK leaders, suggested that Hungary suffered a huge wave of job losses, all of which has been proven inaccurate. Meanwhile, the Federation of Hungarian Trade Unions, which has close ties with the party, is questioning the government’s economic revival plan and portrays employers as the enemies of the employees.

In the latest of these allegations, Csaba Molnár, DK’s executive vice-president and member of the European Parliament’s economic commission, claimed that hundreds of thousand of people have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The false claim is being pointed to as just one example of how the left is misinterpreting publicly available labor market data.

The latest statistics from the National Employment Service shows that in July, the number of jobless people declined by 10,000 from the previous month, while international data indicate that currently the number of employed people in the country is around what it was in January, before the coronavirus pandemic.

In reality, most of the job losses during the pandemic affected those with temporary employment, hired personnel and those whose employment contracts expired. Exceptions are the sectors worst-hit by the crisis, such as tourism and catering, which did suffer a serious setback all over Europe.

Another regular claim of the DK party, which includes former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and his wife, Klára Dobrev, is that Hungarian unemployment rose at the highest rate in Europe, a claim that is also false.

According to the latest available Eurostat data, unemployment in Hungary rose to 4.8 percent in June from 3.6 percent in March. In Sweden, the change for the same period was a rise to 9.2 percent from a previous 6.8 percent, in Austria 5.7 percent from 4.7 percent while in Spain unemployment reached 16 percent in June and in Greece — where official data is yet to be released — June unemployment is expected to reach 20 percent.

In early August, DK Vice-President László Varju claimed that Audi Hungária was planning to cut 2,000 jobs at its Győr plant, causing panic among the workers.

The German company had immediately refuted the allegations and the plant’s trade union said their agreement with the management contains long-term employment guarantees.

Title image: Klára Dobrev (2nd from left) and former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány (C) at a party conference. (Magyar Nemzet)

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