Sharp increase in employment and unemployment among young people
In the third quarter of 2021, 71.4% of people aged 20-64 in Belgium were employed, compared to 70.5% in the previous quarter. This is what emerged from the new results of Statbel, based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The ILO unemployment rate increased from 6.2% to 6.6%. The unemployment rate sharply increased among men, from 6.0% to 7.0%. Among women, the unemployment rate drops from 6.4% to 6.0%, bringing women’s unemployment rate back below that of men.
The most striking developments are seen among young people, both employed and unemployed. This is typical of the third quarter: young people who graduate find work or actively look for work. Some young people have a student job during the summer months. They are also included in the employment figures if they actually worked during the reference week for which they were interviewed. The number of employed young people increases by 71,000 or 23.6% between the second and third quarters of 2021. The number of ILO unemployed younger than 25 increases by 18,000 or 25.9% between the second and third quarters of 2021. In the other age groups the evolutions are much more limited.
In the third quarter of 2021, an average of 880,000 employed persons were absent from their job during the entire reference week. Logically, the main reason for not working the whole week is, due to the summer period, holidays (663,000 people).
The number of temporarily unemployed continues to decrease, both among those who are fully temporarily unemployed and those who are partially temporarily unemployed. The numbers are down, irrespective of the duration (3 months or longer).
In the third quarter of 2021, we see for the first time a clear impact of the relaxation of the governmental teleworking obligation. 38.2% of people employed sometimes, usually or always worked from home in the third quarter of 2021. This percentage was still 43.5% in the second quarter. We notice in particular a strong decrease in the percentage of employed people who always work from home, from 16.4% in the second quarter of 2021 to 10.3% in the third quarter of 2021.
In comparison with the results of the third quarter of 2020, the strong increase in the employment rate is particularly striking. It went from 70.2% in the third quarter of 2020 to 71.4% in the same quarter of 2021. At the same time, over the same one-year period, we see a stabilisation of the unemployment rate. In the third quarter of 2020 it was 6.5% and in the third quarter of 2021 it was 6.6%, but when applying comparable definitions, the unemployment rate is 6.5% in both the third quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021.