Unemployment down 13% from 2021 levels

Unemployment down 13% from 2021 levels
Credit: Belga

The number of fully unemployed people receiving government benefits in Belgium dropped by 13% in February compared to the same period last year, according to statistics released by the National Office for Employment (ONEM) on March 28.

According to statistics from the National Bank of Belgium, unemployment decreased to 4.9% in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. The level of unemployment in Belgium has been steadily falling since 2016, peaking again at the start of 2021.

The level of full unemployment among young people (under 25s) fell by 23,2% compared to February last year. Equally, unemployment for those between 25 and 49 years old fell by 14%. For those aged 50-59 years old, it decreased by 11,8%. Over 60s equally saw reduced levels of unemployment, 5,6% less than the previous year.

The data shows however that Wallonia is still lagging behind Flanders in unemployment. In Flanders, unemployment decreased by 18,2%, in contrast to just 9,9% in Wallonia and 9% in Brussels.

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Reductions in unemployment levels have affected men and women equally. Both sexes saw a reduction of 13% compared to the year prior.

In January, Belgium experienced a sharp fall in those on temporary unemployment benefits. The relaxation of Covid-19 measures and rolling back of furlough schemes led to a boom in the job market in January, helping to bring down unemployment figures.

Figures on temporary unemployment dropped drastically by 39,9% compared to February 2021. In fact, those unemployed for 1-2 years saw the greatest decreases in unemployment, falling by 33,1%.


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