Employment and unemployment

Records on the Belgian labour market in 2018

Work & training
Records on the Belgian labour market in 2018

New results of the Labour Force Survey in Belgium

Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the results of the Labour Force Survey for 2018. The main results are the following:

  • 2018 was a very good year for the Belgian labour market: the main labour market indicators show positive trends.
  • 69.7 % of people aged 20 to 64 are employed.
  • Especially the employment rate of women has sharply increased, reducing the gap with that of men.
  • The unemployment rate among people aged 15 to 64 stood at 6 %.
  • The unemployment rate for women is 0.7 percentage point lower than that of men.
  • For the first time, more than half of the people aged 55 to 64 are employed.
  • The gap between the employment rate of Belgians and non-EU citizens amounts to 27.5 percentage points.

Definitions regarding employment and unemployment

The Labour Force Survey is a sample survey among private households, held throughout the year. It is based on the replies of almost 123,000 persons (respondents) of working age (15 and older).

The survey is harmonised at European level. The definitions regarding employment and unemployment that are mentioned are those of the International Labour Office (ILO) to allow international comparison.

  • The employed comprise all persons who during the reference period performed some work for wage or salary, in cash or in kind, or who were temporarily not at work during the reference period and had a formal attachment to their job. This also includes family workers.
  • The unemployed comprise all persons who:

(a) during the reference period were without work, i.e. were not in paid employment or self-employment;

(b) were available for work, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment within two weeks after the reference period;

(c) were seeking work, i.e. had taken specific steps during the last four weeks including the reference week to seek paid employment or self-employment, or who had found a job to start later, i.e. within a period of at most three months from the end of the reference week.

Please note: The ILO unemployment figures are unrelated to any possible registration with the VDAB, Actiris, FOREM or the ADG, or to the receipt of unemployment benefits from ONEM (National Employment Office). As a result, they cannot be compared with administrative unemployment figures.

  • The labour force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
  • The economically inactive population comprises all persons who were not considered employed or unemployed.
  • The employment rate represents employed persons as a percentage of the same age population. 
  • The employment rate as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy represents the share of persons employed in the population aged 20 to 64. 
  • The unemployment rate represents the share of unemployed people in the labour force (employed + unemployed) within a given age group.
  • The economic activity rate represents the share of the labour force (employed + unemployed) in the total population within a given age group.

The above indicators (employment rate, unemployment rate and economic activity rate) are the most important indicators for international comparisons of the labour market evolution.



LFS : Methodological improvements of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) 2017 (PDF, 97 Kb)