New figures indicate relatively stable job market
The 164 200 jobs that were lost in the period between June 2010 and June 2011 translates as an average of 3 157 a week comparable to a company like Ford Genk that closes its doors every week. These jobs are largely lost due to restructuring or company closures. During the same period, however, at least 218 000 job were created in growing businesses and new companies. This implies that job opportunities have grown by a net 1.4% or 54 000 new jobs over this period. These figures are the result of a survey conducted by DynaM, a partnership of the National Service for Social Security RSZ, the professional federation Federgon and HIVA, the knowledge centre for the job market at the Leuven University. At this stage it would be premature to come up with a forecast for this year, even though it is expected that we are heading for net job losses similar to those experienced during the period 2008-2009, when there was a net loss of 26 800 jobs. Says Peter Vets of the RSZ’s statistical board: “The weakening economy has almost brought employment growth during the first half of the year to a standstill, with the number of jobs on 30 June this year dropping by 0.4% compared to the same time last year.” Most new jobs were created within existing companies, with very few among company start-ups. And yet 25 800 new businesses were responsible for the creation of 41 700 jobs, or 20% of the total job creation between 2010 and 2011. During the same period 24 600 companies were also closed, with the resulting loss of almost 45 000 jobs. Among small and medium enterprises the dynamics are more pronounced, with a much more significant rate of new jobs and job cuts than at larger concerns. In the trade, transport, and hotel and restaurant industries the rate of job shedding and creation was the highest, veering slightly towards the positive during the period 2010-2011. Traditional industries experienced a slightly negative balance, with a net loss of 1 300 jobs. The building sector, which is a traditionally dynamic industry, saw a net growth of 3 300 jobs. The most significant increase in jobs was experienced in the administrative, support and specialised services industries - among them temping and cleaning companies - which grew by 6%. At the same time the revolution in job opportunities in the public management and education sectors almost grinded to a halt, with only healthcare showing positive growth.