Productivity in Belgium drops for the first time in six years
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Productivity in Belgium went down by 0.1% in 2018, the first decrease in six years, L’Echo and De Tijd reported on Tuesday, quoting from the annual survey conducted by The Conference Board, an American consultancy firm. As in the previous year, Belgium is still fourth on the list of the most productive economies. Only Norway (rich in oil), Luxembourg (financial centre) and Ireland (tax haven) are better placed. Nevertheless, Belgium’s reputation for high productivity is at risk with the latter decreasing for the first time in six years, whereas it is increasing in most countries.
“Belgium has created a lot of jobs, but its productivity is apparently reduced,” explained Klass de Vries, The Conference Board’s economist and one of the survey’s authors. The lowering of wage costs now makes the creation of jobs for less qualified workers viable. Given that the productivity of these jobs is relatively poor, government policy has had an impact on the development of the country’s overall productivity.
The National Bank of Belgium (BNB) also points out a distribution-of-technologies problem, as increasing productivity and investment in research and development are found mainly within a small group of big companies especially active in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. The BNB also quotes mobility and infrastructure quality problems.