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In what way has wage structure evolved in the last few years? To what extent does having work experience or a degree influence wages? Does the size of the company play a role, or mainly the sector? The National Bank’s Research Department answers these and many other questions in its latest economic article on wage differentiation in Belgium. 

Art 6

Following the improvement recorded in March, the business barometer is back to a higher level than before the health crisis. Entrepreneurs appear more optimistic in all branches of activity surveyed, especially in the trade sector. The survey began on 1 March and was closed on the morning of 24 March, just before the announcement of renewed lockdown measures for a period of one month.

Business confidence

The loss of turnover suffered by Belgian firms owing to the coronavirus crisis is down again slightly. The strongest improvement comes from the non-medical contact professions, although their loss of turnover is still considerable. In contrast, the outlook for firms in 2021 and 2022 has deteriorated slightly, possibly because the health crisis is persisting for longer than expected. The survey also reveals that firms expect to reduce their office space per employee considerably. That is clearly due to a structural rise in home working.

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Morale amongst consumers continues to improve, moving back to its pre-pandemic level. With the exception of prospects regarding the financial situation of surveyed households, which have stabilised, all components of the indicator have picked up.


Belgian GDP declined marginally by 0.1 % in the fourth quarter. While this was somewhat better than expected, it is likely partly due to a temporary Brexit stockpiling effect pushing up exports. The reversal of this temporary effect should depress growth at the start of 2021.

BCM 2021/03
  • Press release - Financial accounts of Belgium (2020-IV)

  • The interplay between green policy, electricity prices, financial constraints and jobs. Firm-level evidence

  • Press release - Foreign Trade (F-N) (2021-01)

  • Foreign Trade statistic - Monthly Bulletin (F-N) (2021-01)

  • Economic indicators for Belgium (2021-15)

  • National accounts - First estimate of the annual accounts (F - N) (2020)

  • National accounts - Quarterly accounts (F-N) (2020-IV)

  • Press release - NAI - Quarterly accounts (2020-IV)

  • Press release - NAI - Government accounts (2020)

  • Statistical bulletin (2021-I)

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