Transitions on the labour market

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    Fewer transitions to work in 2020

    Work & training
    Fewer transitions to work in 2020

    Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the transitions on the labour market for 2019-2020.

    The longitudinal nature of the Labour Force Survey makes it possible to measure the dynamics on the labour market. For example, is someone who is employed at a given time still employed a year later, or has this person become unemployed?

    The transitions between 2019 and 2020 reflect the first impact of the coronavirus crisis.

    We note that:

    • Fewer unemployed people found a job in 2020;
    • A little more employed people became inactive;
    • More people remained inactive.

    Table of Contents

      Methodological information

      The figures presented here are the results of the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a survey harmonised at European level. The definitions regarding employment and unemployment that are used are those of the International Labour Office (ILO) to allow international comparison. We distinguish three ILO statuses on the labour market: employed, unemployed and inactive. The definitions applied are available here:…

      Please note that temporarily unemployed persons are temporarily absent from work and are counted as employed.

      The Labour Force Survey is a continuous survey, which means that the sample is spread evenly over the 52 weeks of the year. The selected respondents answer a questionnaire mainly related to their activity in the course of a given reference week. The respondents participate four times: they participate for 2 consecutive quarters, then don’t for 2 quarters, and then participate again for 2 quarters. This way, we can observe what the labour market status of a given respondent is in a given quarter, and a quarter and/or a year later: e.g. is someone who is unemployed still unemployed in the next quarter and/or year?

      So, if one speaks of a particular status in a particular quarter, it is by definition the status in the reference week. If one indicates to work in the reference week of quarter Q and in the reference week of quarter Q+1, they are counted twice as employed. There are, of course, a number of cases that were unemployed in the meantime, for example, but this is beyond the scope of our data.

      The quarterly transitions are the sums of weighted observations of respondents who participated in the successive quarters (e.g. 2019Q4-2020Q1, 2020Q1-2020Q2).

      The quarter-specific annual transitions are the sums of weighted observations of respondents participating in the same quarter of two consecutive years (e.g. 2019Q1-2020Q1).

      The annual transitions are the means of four quarter-specific annual transitions for two successive years (e.g. 2019-2020).

      Respondents who did not participate in one of two waves (= interviews) cannot be taken into account in this analysis. Respondents in the longitudinal sample are in both quarters at least 15 years old and at most 74 years old.

      The longitudinal sample is calibrated to the estimated distributions of ILO labour market status per age, gender, region, level of education and nationality in the start and end quarters.

      The published figures are based on the Labour Force Survey. They are no exact figures but approximations based on the extrapolation of a random sample from the Belgian population. This must be taken into account when interpreting the results. When the unweighted number of people is lower than 30, data should be interpreted with caution.