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Belgium employment is one of the least in EU

The European Union labour market was severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The employment rate of people aged 20-64 fell to 72.4 percent, which is 0.7 percentage point (pp) less than in 2019. In Belgium, too, this figure fell last year, by 0.5 pp to 70 percent. This is shown by recently published figures from Eurostat.

In our country, in 2020, the 20-64 year old employed 4,687,000 people, representing 70 percent. This is a decrease of half a percentage point compared to 2019. Belgium is in the tail of the pack: only four countries (Greece, Italy, Spain and Croatia) have an even lower activity rate.

In the 27 EU member states, 188,383,000 people in work-age population were employed, or 72.4%. Belgium is therefore also below the EU average.

The activity rate for men aged 20-64 in our country fell from 74.5 to 74.1 percent and for women from 66.5 to 65.9 percent. In the 27 EU member states, the figure fell from 79% to 78.1% for men and from 67.3% to 66.8% for women.

Only three EU27 Member States had no reduction in activity rates: Malta (+0.6 pp to 77.4%), Poland (+0.6 pp to 73.6%) and Croatia (+0.2 pp to 66.9%). Sweden had the highest activity rate with 80.8%, Greece the lowest with 61.1%. The largest decreases were seen in Spain (-2.3 pp to 65.7 percent), Ireland (-1.7 pp to 73.4 percent) and Bulgaria (-1.6 pp to 73.6 percent).

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