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Statistics show record number of Brussels inhabitants have a job

Illustration picture shows the Actiris offices at the Astro tower in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
06:25 08/04/2022

The number of Brussels residents in employment reached a record number last year with a total of 479,000 inhabitants of the capital active in the labour market, RTBF reports. Last year, 8,700 people got a job, which represents an increase of 1.9%, according to Brussels employment agency Actiris.

"62.2% of Brussels residents aged between 20 and 64 have a job,” Actiris said in a statement on the figures, which are based on data from the national statistical office Statbel. “The unemployment rate (15-64 years) remained stable at 12.5%. In 2017, it was at 16.9%."

While the health crisis led to a loss of almost 5,000 jobs, this deficit has been more than filled in 2021, observes Actiris. Last year, the number of jobs in the Brussels Region increased by 41,360, a growth of 5.5%.

"Statbel's figures are clear: Brussels has rebounded quickly,” said Actiris CEO Cristina Amboldi. “Employment figures are even at historic highs."

"However, this crisis has taught us that it is difficult to make accurate forecasts as the situation remains uncertain. Federal support measures, extended until June, continue to play a protective role. When they end, our role will be decisive in continuing to keep this downward curve in the unemployment rate," she said.

Regional minister of employment and vocational training, Bernard Clerfayt said that while he was delighted that more and more Brussels residents are getting a job, “I do not forget that the war for talent is raging on the labour market.”

"Employers are looking for qualified or even highly qualified profiles," he said. “I recommend continuing to train job seekers in order to increase their level of skills and thus hope to continue this increase in the employment rate.”

In addition to the increase in the number of people active in Brussels, the number of commuters in the capital is also growing.

A total of 259,000 Flemish (+10.9%) and 144,000 Walloons (+6.6%) work in Brussels. "For the first time since 2014, the number of commuters working in Brussels is slightly higher than the people of Brussels themselves: 50.6% (403,000) of jobs in the Brussels Region are occupied by Flemish or Walloons against 49.4% by Brussels residents (393,000)," notes Actiris, which sees the increase in teleworking as an explanation for this phenomenon. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, working in another region no longer necessarily means commuting every day."

The number of Brussels residents working in Flanders (53,400) and Wallonia (23,210) remained almost identical between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 1.2% and a decrease of 2% respectively. Finally, more inhabitants of the capital have found a job outside Belgium: 10,000 Brussels residents work abroad, an increase of 17.8% (+1,509 people).

The Statbel surveys also show that more Brussels residents use teleworking than Flemish and Walloons. Half of Brussels residents (49.7%) work from home, compared to only 38% of Flemish and 34% of Walloons, concludes Actiris.

Written by Nick Amies