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The FPB’s studies cover 11 main themes: Energy, Environmental economic accounts and analyses, International economy, Labour market, Macroeconomic forecasts and analyses, Public finances, Sectoral accounts and analyses, Social protection, demography and prospective studies, Structural studies, Sustainable development, Transport.

Labour market



Removing youth sub-minimum wage rates in Belgium: did it affect youth employment? [16/03/2018]

Between April 2013 and January 2015, youth sub-minimum wage rates were repealed in Belgium. We identify the impact of the reform by comparing outcomes before and after the withdrawal, across eligible and ineligible categories of young workers, and across abolishing and not abolishing joint committees. Our results show that the reform had a small positive impact on wages and on retention rates and a comparable but negative impact on accession rates.

The growth of the Belgian economy should slightly pick up this year to 1.8% [08/02/2018]

Economic growth in the euro area was surprisingly high (2.5%) last year and is expected to remain solid (2.2%) in 2018. Against this backdrop, the growth forecasts for the Belgian economy in 2018 have been revised slightly upwards to 1.8%, compared to our September release. This favourable development leads to a rise in employment by 57000 people. This year, inflation is expected to cool down somewhat to 1.7% as a result of both the appreciation of the euro and the significant decrease in electricity prices in Flanders.

Modelling unobserved heterogeneity in distribution : finite mixture models of the Johnson family of distributions [30/11/2017]

This paper proposes a new model to account for unobserved heterogeneity in empirical modelling. The model extends the well-known Finite Mixture (or Latent Class) Model by using the Johnson family of distributions for the component densities. Due to the great variety of distributional shapes that can be assumed by the Johnson family, the method does not impose the usual a priori assumptions regarding the type of densities that are mixed.

The forecasts for the Belgian economy are characterised by modest growth, steady job creation and persistent public deficits [20/06/2017]

The Federal Planning Bureau’s Economic Outlook makes it possible to outline a future ‘at unchanged policy’ of the Belgian economy for the next five years. The 2017-2022 Outlook takes into account a modest economic recovery in the euro area and is characterised by economic policy measures at the Belgian level that lead to more labour-intensive growth.

Belgian economic growth should amount to 1.6 % both in 2017 and 2018 [08/06/2017]

European economic activity has so far proved to be more robust than expected in the wake of the Brexit referendum. The growth forecasts for the Belgian economy in 2017 have hence been revised upwards to 1.6 %. The same growth rate is expected in 2018. In both years, private consumption and business investment in particular should support economic growth. Net employment should rise by 105 000 people over these two years, while inflation should cool down in 2018. In accordance with the Law of 21 December 1994, the National Accounts Institute (NAI) has transmitted the figures of the economic budget to the Minister for Economy. These macroeconomic forecasts will serve as a basis for the 2018 budget review.



The Federal Planning Bureau’s (FPB) analyses of the labour market are especially aimed at the medium-term and long-term outlooks and projections. Measures or reforms in the labour market, such as cuts in social security contributions or wage subsidies, are assessed on a regular basis.

The FPB carries out various activities on the theme of  the labour market:

  • The FPB studies and models interactions between macroeconomic evolutions and evolutions in the labour market. This allows the impact of potential government policies on the economy and of business cycle developments on the labour market to be assessed. Labour market modelling relies on a detailed analysis of the determinants of employment, wages, etc.
  • The FPB draws up the Economic budget (see the theme ‘Short-term forecasting and business cycle’). This document provides the macro-economic short-term framework for drawing up the budget and reviews by the competent authorities and covers evolutions in employment, unemployment and wages.
  • The FPB carries out detailed medium-term (6-year) forecasts of the evolution of the labour market on the national level and by industry (see the theme ‘Medium-term macroeconomic projections and analyses’). The FPB also produces these forecasts for each of the federated entities within the framework of the HERMREG project, in collaboration with the three regional institutions: SVR, BISA and IWEPS (see the theme ‘Medium-term macroeconomic projections and analyses > Regional Economy).

Besides macroeconomic applications, analyses are also made based on individual longitudinal data, mainly in  the field of wage setting.  The impact of policies aimed at raising the participation rates in the labour market of certain groups is also studied through this approach.

Finally, the FPB also examines extensively its qualitative aspects, for instance the labour market segmentation according to demographic criteria or job characteristics.

Methods and Instruments

As well as different original analytical databases, the following instruments are used:

  • the labour market modules of the national macroeconomic models MODTRIM, HERMES and Hermreg. HERMES contains specific modules for the working time, the labour costs, employment allocation between different types of work at branch level and for employment in the service voucher system.
  • In HERMES as well as in HERMREG, labour supply is modelled using a sociodemographic module that can also project replacement demand created by exit of cohorts of workers from the labour market and the recruitment needs that should be met by new entrants on the labour market.
  • panel, double difference and regression discontinuity analyses.

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