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Brussels unemployment rate at 15-year low

16:50 03/07/2018

The unemployment rate in Brussels is at its lowest point in 15 years, according to jobs and training agency Actiris. The rate has been declining steadily for the last 3.5 years.

At the end of June, 88,541 people were registered as unemployed. That brings the unemployment rate to 15.8%. That is 19,200 fewer people than four years ago, for a total reduction of nearly 18% in the rate.

The unemployment rate among 18- to 24-year-olds is at 20.6%, higher than the total average but still a whopping one-third less than four years ago.

The trend is in keeping with the number of new jobs in Belgium over the last year. According to figures released this week by the National Social Security Office, the country has seen 51,600 new jobs created in the last 12 months. The total number of jobs is at the highest point in 10 years.

Federal social security minister Maggie De Block said that the number of new jobs created is in direct response to the tax shift, which eased labour tax burdens on employers. Social security contributions dropped from 32.4% to 30% in 2016 and then to 25% this year.

“We see a real surge in the figures in the first quarter of 2018,” she told VRT, “and that is the first quarter than the social security contributions have been considerably lower.”

Written by Lisa Bradshaw