The considerably reduced number of people registered by the state man-power management centres, the spectacularly increased number of the employed and the lower number of people receiving unemployment benefit are seen as a success story by the Hungarian Government. Policy Agenda has struck the balance of the past 4 years, can we consider these figures really as a success?
Fewer clients, less troubles?
At the time of the government change in 2010 there were 556 thousand people registered by the state man-power management centres. Many of them had themselves registered in order to become entitled to receive unemployment benefits, regular social support or just to be able to participate in public utility jobs.
The number of the registered fluctuated much in the past four years: at the start of each year it reached between 650 and 680 thousand then it reduced down to 520 thousand as a result of seasonal jobs (such as public utility jobs). The number of people registered by the state man-power management centres is in close context with the number of people working in public utility jobs. As it can be seen in the figure, when the number of people working in public utility jobs reduced, the number of registered people rose swiftly.
Apparently, Fidesz recognised this political problem and endeavoured to return this fall-back before the elections by employing more people in public utility jobs than ever before: it employed even 200 people on the monthly average in the months before the elections. This resulted not only in the increase of the number of the employed but also in the reduction of the number of clients registered in the state man-power management centres. Therefore, it was not by chance that the number of registered was reduced to around 410 thousand.
At the same time, as Policy Agenda has reminded as well, it will be impossible to maintain such an extent of public utility employment from financial aspect. Might the Government have brought a decision on that the monthly average of 200 thousand employed must be maintained in 2014 but the preliminary figures do not support that.
The figures of May show that the number of people registered by the state man-power management centres rose by 100 thousand. Something must explain this. There were either considerable cut-backs in Hungarian economy or the number of people employed in public utility jobs reduced to such an extent. Owing to that no sign of dismissal of masses of people can be seen either in the competition sector or in the public sector then the previous figures can show that the number of people employed in public utility jobs might have reduced.
Masses of lack-all
12% of people registered by the state man-power management centres receive job-search grant as unemployed based on their previous employment. This figure was still 31% in 2010. An important group is formed by people that receive regular social support (they cannot be obliged to work in public utility jobs because of their life situation or health condition) or support replacing employment (people that can receive the support – because of their social situation – as long as there are no compulsory public utility jobs available). Their proportion is 31% among the people registered, which proportion is essentially the same as the 29% four years ago.
The largest segment is formed by people that receive no support from the state. They have made themselves registered by the state man-power management centres just in order that they can work in public utility jobs or participate in training or re-training courses. Their number was 294 thousand last May which is by 40 thousand more people than four years ago and which is by 65 thousand more than one month ago. This means that there are about 65 people for whom the public utility jobs scheduled for the election period have ceased and since then they have received nothing from the state.
Balance of the four years
The Government might not have specified it as its slogan but regarding the “results” of the past four years, the Government transformed the unemployed support system to the largest extent. The grant-payment period of the unemployed was reduced to three months as a consequence of which the number of people reduced dramatically that can be entitled to such a sort of support. In May 2010 there were still 174 thousand people that received support during their job-seeking period while in May 2014 only 61 thousand people were entitled to that support. In parallel with this, as it has been mentioned above, the number of people rose that receive nothing from the state while they are unemployed.
If we consider the number of people working in public utility jobs, or receiving job-search grant and people that live on grant globally then four years ago there were 436 thousand job-seekers that received some financial aid from the state while in last May there were by 100 thousand less people in this group. This means that notwithstanding the expansion of public utility jobs but still, the state has dropped the hands of almost one fourth of people compared to their previous number.
This kind of social politics value-selection (that is to say that money is taken from people that are in a difficult situation and the strengthening of the middle-class is financed from this money) could have provided the left-side political parties with ground clearly. At the same time, the elections of this year show that there is no left-side social politics alternative which could oppose this and offer the opportunity to emerge to people living in a difficult situation.