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Belgium records relatively low number of job losses during COVID-19 pandemic

News   •   Jul 21, 2021 07:00 BST

In spring 2021, around 5% of people in Belgium, who had been employed before the pandemic, reported having lost their job. Compared to the EU average of 10%, Belgium fares comparatively well, with only neighbouring Luxembourg and the Netherlands reporting lower figures, according to Eurofound’s large-scale Living, working and COVID-19 online survey.

The third round of the unique pan-EU survey was fielded in February and March 2021 and the analysis provided in the report and background data for the latest round is based on a sample of 46,800 responses, and an overall sample of 138,629 across all three rounds. It sheds light on the social and economic situation of people across Europe following nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions.

For Belgium, this marks a positive trend as the reported job loss decreased from the 8% level reported during summer 2020. However, for the whole EU, findings show that overall job loss continues to rise one year on, with nearly 10% of those who had work pre-pandemic now unemployed - an increase from 8% reported in summer 2020 and double the figure of spring 2020 (5%).

The Living, working and COVID-19 survey also measured trust in various institutions. It found low levels of trust in the EU among Belgian respondents at 3.9 out of 10 in spring 2021, while the EU average is 4.6. This represents a significant decrease for Belgium, where trust in the EU was 4.2 in April 2020 and 4.3 in July 2020.

Eurofound’s Working Life Highlights 2020 for Belgium found that the strategy adopted by the Belgian government and its regional counterparts to counter the effects of the COVID-19 crisis has been one of investment and providing a buffer. The temporary unemployment system, bridging rights for self-employed people and other flanking measures, including loans, premiums and grants, have all been geared towards maintaining the financial stability of the economy and individuals. To date, the number of dismissals has been relatively limited, confirming the findings of Eurofound’s Living, working and COVID-19 survey.

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