Greater impact for some subgroups
New results of the Labour Force Survey in Belgium
Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the results of the Labour Force Survey for 2020. A year where Belgium, just like the rest of the world, was hit hard by the coronavirus. The government adopted various support measures, such as the temporary unemployment system and the bridging right for the self-employed. In this publication with the annual figures from the Labour Force Survey, we examine the impact of the coronavirus crisis and the measures on some key indicators in five larger conclusions.
First conclusion: the overall impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the general population remains limited. The number of persons employed decreased by 29,000 (-0.6 %) between 2019 and 2020. The employment rate of people aged 15-64 decreased from 65.3 % in 2019 to 64.7 % in 2020. Furthermore, the number of unemployed persons increased by 8,800 (+3.2 %). The unemployment rate of people aged 15-64 slightly increased from 5.4 % in 2019 to 5.6 % in 2020.
Second conclusion: the evolution of the labour market situation is worse for some subgroups than for others. The number of persons employed decreases mainly among certain more vulnerable groups on the labour market, such as young people, low-skilled and medium-skilled people and people with a non-EU nationality.
Third conclusion: there is a striking surge in the number of unemployed persons among people with a diploma of higher education (+13.8 %). This group of highly-skilled people is not usually seen as vulnerable. Statbel notes that in 2020 there were more highly-skilled people who entered the labour market compared to the other years. Therefore, both the number of employed and the number of unemployed with a diploma of higher education increase sharply.
Fourth conclusion: working hours decrease sharply. In 2020, more than one person out of four (28.2 %) in the working population said they worked less than usual or did not work at all during the reference week for which they were interviewed. In 2019, this was one person out of five (20.6 %).
Fifth conclusion: part-time and temporary jobs, jobs in the ‘horeca’ sector and jobs with low qualifications in elementary occupations (such as office cleaners, domestic helpers and freight handlers) were particularly affected. There is a clear decrease in the number of employees with temporary jobs (-7.8 %), while the number of self-employed increases (+2.9 %). The number of persons employed in part-time jobs decreased by -2.5 %, while the number of full-time jobs stabilises. The ‘horeca’ sector is the most affected sector (-13.7 % of persons employed). ‘Elementary occupations’, such as office cleaners, domestic helpers and freight handlers, were also affected (-7.7 %), followed by ‘Service and sales workers’ (-5.9 %).