The number of unemployed people in Flanders rose in January to 6%, marking the third monthly increase in a row, according to the Flemish employment agency, VDAB.
The region had 191,647 job seekers without work at the end of January, VDAB reported on Thursday. This was a 3.2% increase compared to January 2022.
The number of unemployed persons had also increased in November and December, compared to the corresponding months of the previous year.
The unemployment rate – job seekers without work as a percentage of the labour force – reached 6% in January, up from 5.8% in both January 2022 and December 2022.
Ukrainian nationals account for much of the increase
As in previous months, the number of persons who have been jobless for less than a year was higher last month, registering a 22% year-on-year increase.
There were also noticeably more highly skilled unemployed persons (+9%). “This increase is largely driven by highly skilled people of Ukrainian nationality,” VDAB said.
The regional employment agency also found that the number of job seekers with non-EU nationalities had increased by over 10,000 (36%) on an annual basis.
“Almost half of the increase is due to citizens with Ukrainian nationality (+ 4,641 between January 2022 and January 2023),” VDAB said.