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Lockdown: temporary unemployment halved in May

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The resumption of employment has started off well in all Belgium’s regions and provinces, according to salary data for one million people from HR service provider SD Worx on Thursday.

The biggest increase occurred in the regions and organisations that were most affected, according to SD Worx. “The activity is showing sustained growth in SMEs with less than 20 employees: from 55% to 64% of working days. Workers are also making the return to the workplace: from 49% to 60%, although they are still a fifth below the normal level of working days,” the company said.

Among the 10 sectors with the largest increase in activity last month are service voucher companies, large retail companies, independent retail trade, department stores, garages, clothing companies, electricians and sheltered workshops.

“The month of May marks the first real positive turnaround in employment, with an increase in the percentage of working days from 60% to 67%,” said Valérie t’Serstevens, senior legal consultant at SD Worx.

“This development is mainly due to a sharp fall (43%) in temporary unemployment: from 22% in April to 13% in May,” she added. There is still 12% to be caught up, in order to return to the “normal level” of temporary unemployment for this period of the year.

The share of working days is increasing most in SMEs, mainly in those with less than 20 workers.

“Although SMEs with up to 20 workers were still in the lead in February with 87% of working days, they fell to 55% in April. With 64% of working days in May, they are making the greatest come-back movement but are still lagging behind large organisations and are 20% below last year’s level,” SD Worx pointed out.

In geographical terms, the recovery is visible in all regions and provinces, but the number of working days is highest in Brussels and lowest in Wallonia. However, the increase in Wallonia is up 16% in May, Flanders by 11% and Brussels by 9%.

The Brussels Times