During the week from 7 to 13 February included (week 6), the business courts pronounced 159 bankruptcies, resulting in a total of 379 job losses.
The figures for week 6 reveal an increase in the number of bankruptcies and job losses compared to the previous week.
During the first 6 weeks of 2022, the business courts pronounced 882 bankruptcies. This figure is 27.1% higher than in the first 6 weeks of 2021.
Job losses per bankruptcy are 12.3% lower in 2022 than in the previous year. During the first 6 weeks of 2022, 2.50 jobs were lost per bankruptcy while this ratio amounted to 2.85 in the same period in 2021.
The number of bankruptcies and job losses for the first 6 weeks of the year
This is what emerged from the weekly bankruptcy figures produced by Statbel based on the orders of business courts. These interim weekly estimates make it possible to quickly observe the first trends.
The new Code of Companies and Associations (the ‘Code’) entered into force on 1 May 2019. If from that date onwards new companies can only be set up under the most recent provisions, a transitional regime applies to existing companies until 2024. During this transitional period, both old and new forms of companies are used.
Public statistics have to incorporate these new forms of companies, but during the transitional period the old legal forms also remain applicable. It was therefore preferable to apply the new company forms at a time when many enterprises had already brought their statutes into line with the Code.
Therefore, the new company forms are introduced in the bankruptcy statistics on 17 February 2022. In order to ensure time series comparability, we apply this measure retroactively. This update has no impact on the total number of bankruptcies, but it brings two major changes to the time series from 2019 onwards. These changes are briefly explained below:
- the number of bankruptcies among the self-employed decreases compared to the old method. Some enterprises that were part of the ‘self-employed’ category are classified under the new method as ‘Public limited company’, ‘Private limited company’, ‘ Limited partnership’ or ‘Other’:
Comparison of the total number of bankruptcies by legal form according to the method used
Self-employed Public limited company Private limited company Limited partnership Others Year Old method New method Old method New method Old method New method Old method New method Old method New method 2019 2,202 2,186 1,494 1,494 6,273 6,289 330 330 299 299 2020 1,784 1,601 1,011 1,021 4,067 4,239 143 143 198 199 2021 2,120 1,566 834 879 3,320 3,827 127 128 132 133 2022 331 196 95 103 426 553 11 11 19 19
- for salaried employers, Statbel uses an internationally recognised estimation rule which is recommended by Eurostat and depends on the legal form of the enterprise. The above redistribution of the number of bankruptcies by legal form leads to an increase in the total number of jobs lost. Indeed, the estimation rule stipulates that there is only one salaried employer in the case of the self-employed, whereas this number can rise up to three jobs in the case of limited liability companies. Nevertheless, the table below shows a similar ratio between the annual number of jobs lost and the total figures for the period 2019-2022 in the old and new method;
Comparison of the total number of job losses according to the method used
Year Old method Proportions New method Proportions Difference (in percentage points) 2019 20,379 38,4% 28,107 39,5% +1.1 pp 2020 17,882 33,7% 23,022 32,4% -1.4 pp 2021 13,183 24,9% 17,786 25,0% +0.1 pp 2022 1,565 3,0% 2,203 3,1% +0.1 pp 2019-2022 53,009 100,0% 71,118 100%