Workforce shortage hits Christmas tree prices in Hungary

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Prices of spruce trees in the Christmas season could reach as much as HUF 3,200 per meter this year, a 30 percent rise over last year, the Hungarian Association of Ornamental Horticulture warned on Monday.

They said the main reason is the increasing workforce shortage. The latest data from the Statistics Office showed that Hungarian unemployment was at a record low of 3.6 percent and that employers were finding it increasingly difficult to hire qualified and even manual labor.

Spruce is the most popular Christmas tree variety in Hungary – where virtually every household will have one -, followed by the more expensive blue spruce (HUF 5,500 per meter) and the Nordmann or Caucasian fir (HUF 6,500 per meter). The prices of the latter two more expensive varieties are expected to remain unchanged.

An estimated 2-2.5 million Chirstmas trees are sold every year in Hungary, over half of which come from domestic production.

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