Monthly figures on the labour market

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Monthly figures on the labour market – November 2021

DataLab
Monthly figures on the labour market – November 2021

The provisional results for the monthly indicators based on the Labour Force Survey of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, show a decrease in both employment and unemployment rates. The employment rate for people aged 20-64 is estimated at 70.0% and the unemployment rate drops below 6% for the first time in 2021, reaching 5.7%.

Since mid-November, teleworking has again become compulsory, which is reflected in the figures. Between October and November, the percentage of employees who sometimes, usually or always work from home increased from 36.5% to 38.3%.

Employment rate drops to 70.0%

According to the provisional results of the Labour Force Survey, the Belgian employment rate of people aged 20-64 is 70.0% in November 2021. This is a sharp drop from October, when the employment rate stood at 71.6%.

The employment rate declined by 1.9 percentage points for men and 1.2 percentage points for women between October and November. The employment rate decreased most in Wallonia (-2.2 percentage points), followed by Flanders (-1.5 percentage points). In Brussels the employment rate stabilised (-0.1 percentage points). The employment rate of people aged 20-64 stands at 62.2% in Brussels, 74.5% in Flanders and 64.7% in Wallonia.

At the beginning of 2021, a new European framework regulation came into force. This led to adjustments to the survey. Therefore, the employment rate of 2021 cannot simply be compared with the figures before 2021. One of the important changes: from this year on, people who are temporarily unemployed for more than three months are no longer counted among the employed, but among the unemployed or inactive, depending on the answers to the questions on job search and availability. In order to illustrate the impact of this changed treatment of the long-term temporarily unemployed, we calculate, in addition to the official employment rate, an alternative employment rate, whereby the long-term temporarily unemployed are, as before, classified as employed persons. Since May 2021, we have seen the number of long-term temporarily unemployed begin to fall sharply, which has also narrowed the gap between the official and alternative employment rates. Since September, the alternative employment rate has been only 0.1 percentage points higher than the official rate. This alternative employment rate was 70.1% in November.

Unemployment rate down to 5.7%

After a decrease in August (6.3%) and September (6.0%), the ILO unemployment rate of people aged 15-64 rose to 6.6% in October. This increase did not continue in November. In November, the unemployment rate fell below 6% for the first time in 2021 and stood at 5.7%.

The unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points for men and 0.3 percentage points for women between October and November. The unemployment rate for men is 6.5% and for women 4.8%.

The unemployment rate fell most sharply in Brussels, followed by Flanders. In Wallonia the unemployment rate stabilises. The unemployment rate amounts to 3.3% in Flanders, 9.0% in Wallonia and 10.5% in Brussels.

The changed treatment of the temporarily unemployed from 2021 onwards has no impact on the calculation of the unemployment rate in November. The official and alternative unemployment rates both amount to 5.7% in November. This is logically connected to the sharp decrease in the number of long-term temporarily unemployed in recent months.

Share of homeworkers rises again

From July onwards, we saw a clear impact of the relaxation of the teleworking obligation with a decrease in the percentage of homeworkers from 41.6% in June to 37.4% in July. In the months July up to and including October, the percentage remained fairly stable at around 36% to 37%. Since mid-November, working from home has again become compulsory wherever possible, which is again reflected in the figures. Between October and November, the percentage of employees who sometimes, usually or always work from home increased from 36.5% to 38.3%.

The average working time is 28.9 hours per week

The average number of hours worked per week fell from 33.7 hours in October to 28.9 hours in November. This average number of hours is influenced in November by a number of public holidays and the autumn break, which fell entirely in November.

On average, 481,000 workers were absent from their jobs during the entire reference week. The main reason for not working the whole week is holidays or public holidays (227,000 people). Illness or accident is the second most important reason for being absent from work during the entire reference week (192,000 people), followed by maternity leave, paternity leave or birth leave (27,000 people).

In addition, in November there were on average 1,664,000 people with a job who worked less during the reference week due to holidays or a public holiday and 95,000 people who were absent for at least half a day (but not the entire week) due to illness or an accident.

Finally, if we look at the evolution of the number of temporarily unemployed people, we can see that this category increased slightly in November. About 5,400 employed people were absent during the entire reference week due to temporary unemployment, compared to 3,900 in October. In addition, some 29,000 employed people were in temporary unemployment for part of the reference week, compared to just under 19,000 in October.

Methodological note

The reported figures are provisional estimations based on a sample survey. They are based on an effective sample of about 8,000 persons (respondents) between 15 and 89 years old in November 2021. This represents about 4,000 respondents in Flanders, 2,900 in Wallonia and 1,050 in Brussels.

The results presented here are indicative monthly results and are subject to greater random fluctuations than the quarterly and annual results, because they are based on a twelfth of the annual sample.

Methodologische info

De hier gepresenteerde cijfers zijn resultaten van de Enquête naar de Arbeidskrachten (EAK), dit is een enquête die geharmoniseerd is op Europees niveau. De definities over werkgelegenheid en werkloosheid die worden gehanteerd zijn die van het Internationaal Arbeidsbureau (IAB), waardoor een vergelijkbaarheid van de resultaten op internationaal vlak wordt gewaarborgd. De gehanteerde definities bevinden zich hier: https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/werk-opleiding/arbeidsmarkt/werkgeleg….

De enquête naar de arbeidskrachten is een continue enquête, wat wil zeggen dat de steekproef gelijk verdeeld is over de 52 weken van het jaar. De geselecteerde respondenten beantwoorden een vragenlijst die hoofdzakelijk betrekking heeft op hun activiteit in de loop van een gegeven referentieweek. De resultaten op maandbasis kunnen beschouwd worden als het gemiddelde van de maand.

Voor de opmaak van de maandelijkse indicatoren werden de antwoorden van de respondenten voor een bepaalde “maand” (d.i. een set van 4 of 5 opeenvolgende volledige kalender- of referentieweken, bv. maart 2020 bestaat uit referentieweken 10-13) gekalibreerd op basis van volgend model: Prov*Sex*Agecat + Regio*Educat3c waarbij Prov= provincie, Sex= geslacht, Agecat= leeftijdsgroep per 5 jaar, Regio= 3 gewesten, Educat3c= onderwijsniveau (laag, midden, hoog). Hiervoor worden twee frames voor berekening van kalibratietotalen (benchmarks) gebruikt:

Uit het Rijksregister: populatiecijfers op de eerste dag van het kwartaal, volgens de kruising Prov*Sex*Agecat.

Uit EAK: geschatte populatiecijfers volgens de kruising Regio*Educat3c, m.a.w. een geschatte verdeling van het onderwijsniveau per regio; hiervoor baseren we ons op gekalibreerde EAK-steekproeven voor de 4 meest recent beschikbare kwartalen (bv. voor januari-maart 2020 zijn dat de kwartalen 2018T4 t.e.m. 2019T3).

De gepresenteerde cijfers zijn geen effectieve populatiecijfers, maar benaderingen die gebaseerd zijn op de extrapolatie van een toevalssteekproef uit de Belgische bevolking. Bij de interpretatie van de cijfers dient hiermee rekening te worden gehouden. De resultaten die hier gepresenteerd worden zijn indicatieve resultaten op maandbasis en zijn onderhevig aan grotere toevalsschommelingen dan de resultaten op kwartaal- en op jaarbasis omdat ze gebaseerd zijn op een twaalfde van de steekproef op jaarbasis. Voor maart 2020 gaat het om ruim 8600 respondenten. Kleine aantallen en kleine verschuivingen doorheen de tijd dienen dan ook met de nodige omzichtigheid geïnterpreteerd te worden omdat ze gebaseerd zijn op de antwoorden van een beperkt aantal respondenten.

De in dit bestand opgenomen maandelijkse statistieken zijn experimentele statistieken en worden geproduceerd met het specifiek doel tot monitoring van de Coronacrisis. Het is belangrijk voor ogen te houden dat het steeds gaat om voorlopige cijfers, die geproduceerd werden op een eerste versie van de gegevens en waarbij de snelheid primeert op de volledigheid en kwaliteit van de binnengekomen gegevens. De maandelijkse cijfers zullen dit voorlopig karakter behouden tot na de publicatie van de officiële kwartaalresultaten.

Meer info over de enquête naar de arbeidskrachten is te vinden op:

https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/werk-opleiding/arbeidsmarkt/werkgeleg…

https://statbel.fgov.be/sites/default/files/Over_Statbel_FR/Analyse_eak…