Planning Bureau forecasts further fall in unemployment over the next five years

According to predictions contained in the Federal Planning Bureau’s economic forecast for 2019-2024, unemployment in Belgium will fall to levels not seen since the mid-1970’s. The forecast that was published on Tuesday continues in the same vein as the Planning Bureau’s previous economic forecasts.

According to the Planning bureau’s unemployment forecasts, the level of unemployment in Belgium will have fallen to 7.4% by the end of the 2019 – 2024 legislature, a level of unemployment that has not been seen since the latter half of the 1970’s. In 2018 unemployment in Belgium stood at 9.5%.    

However, it isn’t all good news as without extra measure being taken the budget deficit will rise to 2.3% of GDP (more than 11 billion euro) in 2021. This is in great contrast to the stability programme that Belgium presented to the EU in which a balanced budget was forecast for 2021. The Planning Bureau forecasts that by 2024 the budget deficit will have reached 2.7%.

If the forecast is correct Belgium will fail to meet the European rules on the reduction of the level of national debt. With the national debt remaining stable as a percentage of GDP.

The Planning Bureau predicts that economic growth will remain stable until 2022, after which it will slow down slightly to 1.2% per annum.

If no further measures are taken, growth in disposable income will slow down gradually to 1% per annum.

Levels of job creation will remain buoyant with 206,000 extra jobs in the Belgian economy by 2024.