4,500 jobs lost in January and February alone

3,000 jobs have been lost in Belgium so far this year as a result of company restructurings. Bankruptcies take the total number of Belgian jobs that have disappeared in only two months to 4,500.

The figures come from consultants Graydon.

Radiator manufacturer Henrad in Herentals wants to shed 113 jobs. "That takes Belgian job losses in January and February to 3,500" says Graydon spokesperson Eric Van den Broele.

Add the number of jobs under threat as a result of companies going to the wall and the figure is closer to 4,500. Some of these jobs may still be rescued if a takeover candidate steps forward.

Graydon's Eric Van den Broele: "The figures have improved slightly, but we are still in the doldrums. Businesses are down to their last reserves and that leads to restructuring and bankruptcies. Many more dismissals will occur in coming months."

But it's not all bad news. Eric Van den Broele: "The employment agency VDAB reports an increase in the number of vacancies. Businesses are paying each other's bills more easily. That points to increased confidence."