Belgium registers second highest job vacancy rate in euro zone

Belgium registered the 2nd highest job vacancy rate – 3.6% – in the euro zone in the third quarter of 2017, according to figures published on Monday by Eurostat, the European statistical office.

The average rate for the euro zone, 1.9%, was stable compared to the preceding quarter and higher than the 1.6% rate for the third quarter of 2016.

Eurostat defines the job vacancy rate as the proportion of total posts in the labour market that are vacant. A job vacancy is a paid post for which the employer is taking active steps to find a suitable candidate from outside the enterprise concerned and is prepared to take more steps and which the employer intends to fill either immediately or in the near future.

The job vacancy rate, in part, reflects the unmet demand for labour, as well as potential mismatches between the skills and availability of those who are unemployed and those sought by employers.

The vacancy rate for the 28 European Union (EU) member countries was 2.0% in the third quarter, similar to the preceding quarter and higher than that of the third quarter of 2016, which was 1.7%.

Among member States for which comparable data was available, the highest job vacancy rates were in the Czech Republic (4.1%), Belgium (3.6%), Germany (2.7%), Austria and the United Kingdom (2.6% each), the Netherlands (2.5%) and Hungary (2.4%).

At the other end of the scale, the lowest rates were registered in Greece (0.5%), Bulgaria and Spain (0.8% each) and Portugal (0.9%).

Compared to the corresponding quarter of last year, the job vacancy rate increased in the third quarter of 2017 in the 22 States for which comparable data is available; it remained stable in two others and went down in Greece (-0.3%), Rumania (-0.2%) and Cyprus (-0.1%).

The strongest increases were observed in the Czech Republic (+1.0%), Belgium and Austria (+ 0.7%) Slovenia (+0.6%) and the Netherlands (+0.6%), Eurostat stated.

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