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November 2018 – Important increase expected in number of Brussels residents with a job

Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis (BISA) - In the Spotlight - Annual changes in the employed active population, internal employment and commuting in the Brussels-Capital Region

Between 2018 and 2023, the number of Brussels residents who have a job is expected to increase by an average of 6,200 people per year, or a growth of 1.3% per year. This growth forecast is higher than those for Flanders and Wallonia. The expected rise in the number of Brussels residents with a job is also expected to be greater than for all domestic employment in the Brussels Region.
These conclusions emerge from the most recent Regional Economic Prospects 2018-2023 published in July 2018 by the Federal Planning Bureau, BISA, IWEPS and Statistics Flanders.


Annual changes in the employed active population, domestic employment and commuting in the Brussels-Capital Region

(difference in number of persons as compared to the previous year)
 


 

What is the employed active population?

The employed active population in the Brussels-Capital Region includes all employed persons who reside within the territory of Brussels, whatever their place of work.

Changes in the employed active population depends on several factors:

  • domestic employment in Brussels, which refers to all salaried employees and self-employed persons who work in the Brussels Region, wherever their place of residence;
  • interregional commuting, which includes the following flows:
    • residents of Flanders and Wallonia who come to work in the Brussels Region (inbound commutes);
    • Brussels residents who work in Flanders or Wallonia (outbound commutes);
       
  • border workers, which includes persons who do not live in the country in which they are working[1].

 


Job creation remains high, though it is expected to fall in the years to come

According to the most recent forecasts, domestic employment in Brussels will increase by more than 6,000 units in 2018, thanks to a thriving economy and certain measures taken to limit the costs of labour. The number of net new jobs will subsequently begin to fall, in line with the expected slow-down in economic growth. By 2023, net new jobs are thus expected to have fallen to 3,000 units.

Over the 2018-2023 period, employment in the Brussels Capital Region is expected to increase by an average of 0.6% per year, the number of workers expected to reach 727,000 in 2023. This corresponds to the employment of a total of slightly more than 24,000 additional workers over the entire period, or an average of 4,000 net new jobs created each year. This figure appears high when seen from a historical perspective: between 1985 and 2016, the average net job creation in the Brussels Region remained under 2,400 units per year.


The number of Brussels commuters is growing significantly

Not all the jobs being created are necessarily of benefit to workers living in Brussels. In fact, slightly less than half of domestic jobs in Brussels are held by workers coming from one of the two other regions of Belgium. As compared to Flanders and Wallonia, the Brussels labour market is distinguished by a high level of inbound commuters. Thus, based on the forecasts for 2018, 330,000 commuters from Flanders and Wallonia are expected to come to work in Brussels, whereas more than 64,000 Brussels residents will commute to the North or the South of the country.

As has been the case since 2000, in the coming years the number of Brussels residents working in the two other regions is expected to increase more than the number of workers coming to Brussels from Flanders or Wallonia. From 2018 to 2023, the Brussels Region should thus see the following average annual flows:

  • +2,600 outbound commuters;
  • + 500 inbound commuters.


In 2018, 1 out of every 7 Brussels residents with a job is a commuter (13.6 % of the employed active population). In 2023, the proportion is expected to be close to 1 out of every 6 (15.5 %).


The employed active population in Brussels is rising twice as fast as domestic employment

Under these conditions, the number of Brussels residents in work should increase by an average of 6,200 units per year over the 2018-2023 period. The expected increase in the Brussels Region is thus relatively high as compared to the results for the two other regions (annual rise of between 10,000 and 11,000 units). With a growth of 1.3 % per year, the change in the employed active population in Brussels is more dynamic than in Flanders or Wallonia (+0.8 % in both cases).

Moreover, the employed active population is expected to continue to grow more rapidly than domestic employment within the territory of Brussels (+1.3 % and +0.6 % respectively between 2018 and 2023). Over the same period, the proportion of domestic jobs in Brussels held by residents of the Region should further increase, rising from 53.5 % to 54.4 %. The share of Brussels residents working in the two other Regions is also expected to rise by 2023.
 

 Find out more

More detailed figures and analyses are available in the full report on Regional Economic Prospects 2018-2023 (FR), published in July 2018 by the Federal Planning Bureau, BISA, IWEPS and Statistics Flanders. The regional medium-term forecasts cover the following domains: macroeconomic and sectoral changes, the labour market, household income, public finances and greenhouse gas emissions.


 1. Given that the variation from one year to the next in the flows of border workers is much lower than that of interregional commuters, we will not be analysing them here. For more details in this regard, see "Find out more".