Belgian employment lags behind EU average

Belgian employment lags behind EU average
Job centre in Brussels. Credit: Lauren Walker/ The Brussels Times:

Despite Belgium's employment rate increasing in 2021 and a record number of vacancies opening, the country still has a lower employment rate than the European Union average.

Just five EU states fare worse than Belgium for people aged between 20 and 64 that have a job. In Belgium, the rate is 70.6%; Greece sits at the bottom of the table with just 62.6%, according to European statistics office Eurostat.

Employment rate by country in 2021. Credit: Eurostat

The EU labour market was affected by Covid-19 restrictions and the financial impact of the pandemic in 2020, showing a 1 percentage point decrease in the employment rate compared with 2019 (72.7% in the latter year), but then recovered in 2021.

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Overall, the EU average has increased by 0.4 percentage points in comparison to before the Covid-19 pandemic to 73.1%, which corresponds with 189.7 million people being employed.

Last year, in 16 out of 27 EU Member States, the employment rate reached or exceeded the pre-pandemic level recorded in 2019, while in 11 countries, the 2021 employment rate was lower than in 2019, with the largest declines being recorded in Latvia (-2.0 pp), Estonia and Austria (both -1.2 pp), and Bulgaria (-1.1 pp).

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