Unemployment rate in Belgium in 2019, by age and gender

The Belgian labor market faced age and gender differences in 2019. Despite gender equality being one of the fundamental principles of the European-Union law, the unemployment rate in Belgium was higher in the male population than in the female population. Furthermore, unemployment was higher in the young population, regardless of gender. In Belgium, a young male was not only more likely to be unemployed as someone older, but also when compared to a same-age female. The unemployment rate in Belgium was six percent in 2018 and was gradually decreasing since 2015. However, the unemployment rate was unevenly spread throughout the country, some regions having a higher unemployment rate than others.

Unemployment inequalities in Belgium

In the Benelux, Belgium had the highest unemployment rate compared to Luxembourg and the Netherlands in 2018. That year, the number of unemployed people reached 300 thousand people in Belgium. Although a lower unemployment rate was found in Belgium’s young male population, it is not a clear sign that one group is better off than another in the labor market. Information concerning the time length of unemployment, the share of part-time employment, or even the share of discouraged jobseekers should be considered. In 2019, over half of Belgian respondents believed that not enough is being done to achieve equal rights between men and women regarding business.

Employment benefit in Belgium

For Belgians to obtain unemployment benefits, they must fulfill certain conditions. Firstly, they must be over 18 years of age and not old enough for retirement. Secondly, they must not be employed or perceive remuneration. Thirdly, they must no be responsible for the loss of the previous job. It is also necessary that one’s state of health permits to work. Finally, to be entitled to unemployment benefit in Belgium, people must be actively searching for work, meaning that they are available for the labor market, as well as accepting any suitable job offer.

Rate of unemployment in Belgium in 2019, by age and gender

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Statistics Belgium defines unemployment rate as the percentage unemployed people within the national labor force (that means employed as well as unemployed people) between the age of 15 and 64.

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