Fewer Walloons have been travelling to Flanders to find jobs over the past 10 years, while the number working in Brussels has been going up during the same period.
In 2011, some 53,000 residents of Wallonia were working in the north of the country, but by last year, the figure had dropped by about 20% to 42,000, according to data collected by Flemish parliamentarian Robrecht Bothuyne (CD&V) and confirmed by Wallonia’s Forem employment office.
On the other hand, the number of people shuttling from Wallonia to jobs in Brussels has increased from 127,000 to 135,000 over the past decade, according to reports from L’Echo.
According to Flemish economist Stijn Baert (University of Gent), the reduced number of Walloon workers in Flanders is not necessarily due to the language divide.
“To begin with, it should be noted that the Walloon labour market now offers more job opportunities to job seekers than in 2011,” Baert said.
“Statistics also show that the unemployment rate is dropping in Wallonia, while labour shortages are increasing,” he added.
William Watelet, a labour market analyst at FOREM, agreed with this statement but warned that the new data should be interpreted with caution.
“While there has been a decrease in the number of Walloon workers in Flanders, it’s possibly less spectacular than it appears since these figures are the result of a sampling,” he noted.
In addition to the increase in jobs in Wallonia between 2015 and 2019, which reduced the need for workers to look for jobs out of the region, some persons may have moved from Wallonia to Flanders in recent years to be closer to their workplaces, Watelet pointed out.
The Brussels Times