One quarter of the unemployed population is not jobseeking
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    One quarter of the unemployed population is not jobseeking

    A quarter of unemployed on federal government benefits do not actively have to look for work. Thus, out of the 532,400 unemployed in Belgium in 2016, more than 137,000 were exempt from looking for work. This emerges from a calculation by De Tijd on the basis of figures from the National Employment Office, which is responsible for the payment of unemployment benefit.

    In detail, out of 94,000 of pre-retiring age, 88,000 do not actively have to look for work.

    Moreover, around 42,000 older individuals do not have to show that they are looking for work. To this number is added some thousands of individuals who are unavailable on the employment market, by reason of social or family difficulties.

    By way of comparison, in 2010, 32% of the unemployed population were exempt from looking for work and in 2000, this percentage even reached 40%. “This decrease in the number exempt is the consequence of reforms led by successive governments,” Bart Buysse, the Director-General of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises, explained.

    Moreover, the figure of 532,400 unemployed receiving allowances is particularly low.

    This has allowed the authorities to make savings. Unemployment expenses and related allowances, in particular so-called “time credit”, thus, in 2016, went below eight billion euros, whilst in 2015 it went up to almost nine billion euros.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times