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    End-of-year unemployment at its lowest since 1992 in Brussels

    The Brussels-Capital Region ended the year 2018 with 88,317 jobseekers, giving an unemployment rate of 15.7%, the lowest for a month of December in 26 years. The last time a lower rate was achieved was in 1992, when it was 15.1%, the Actiris employment service reported on Thursday.

    December 2018 also marked the 50th consecutive month in which overall unemployment went down and the 67th in which joblessness among the under-25s decreased.

    In December 2018, the number of unemployed people was 2,774 less (-3%) than in 2017, 8419 (-8.7%) lower than in December 2016 and 12,401 (-12.3%) less than in December 2015. Compared to December 2014, the number of jobseekers went down by 19,600 (-18.2%).

    Among young people below the age of 25, the unemployment rate in December 2018 was 23.2% (8,893 jobseekers) and, compared to December 2014, the number has decreased by 30.8% (-3,956 persons).

    Of the 88,317 jobseekers, 60,962 qualified as applicants for social allowances, 4,813 were on professional internships, while 22,542 were registered voluntarily or compulsorily as jobseekers.

    Some 12.028 (13.6%) were users of public welfare centres, CPAS, but the percentage was higher among the jobless under-25s, 22.1% of whom – 8,893 – were being assisted by the CPAS.

    In the month of December, Actiris received a total of 14,757 job offers.

    In Flanders, unemployment went down by about 8% on an annualised basis in December, according to figures published on Thursday by Flemish Employment Minister Philippe Muyters. The region had 186,807 jobseekers at the end of the month, a 7.9% drop from the corresponding period in 2017. The unemployment rate was 6.1%.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times