Walloon business leaders optimistic about 2018 amid two-year economic upswing
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    Walloon business leaders optimistic about 2018 amid two-year economic upswing

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Wallonia’s economy has been on the upswing for two years now, and the region’s businesses are confident about 2018, the Walloon Union of Enterprises, UWE, found after polling more than 400 business leaders. Businesses in the region are benefiting from the positive international economic environment to develop export prospects and invest. They plan to employ more staff in 2018 and Wallonia’s growth is expected to reach 1.9%. For the UWE, this is a good time to take measures in favour of a structural recovery.

    UWE also mentioned the need for measures to remedy the shortage of qualified labour, which still hampers the development of enterprises. Two companies out of three stated in response to the UWE questionnaire that they had had a hard time recruiting staff in the past six months; 20.6% of respondents felt that this shortage of qualified staff made it difficult for them to fill orders.

    Another major aspect mentioned by the UWE, other than the training and mentoring of jobseekers, was the need to speed up digitalization, not only of companies but also of the entire society. The idea is to amplify the current recovery and transform it into long-term structural recovery.

    The UWE observed, in fact, that more than 15,000 salaried jobs were created during the first three quarters of 2017, while exports went up by 8%. The region’s projected economic growth of 1.9% in 2018 is almost equal to Belgium’s expected growth of 2%, but still lower than that of the Euro zone: 2.3%.

    Christopher Vincent

    The Brussels Times