Labour productivity

  • Labour productivity declines in 2020

    In 2020, labour productivity in the Flemish Region was estimated at 79,200 euro purchasing power standard (PPS). Labour productivity is the ratio of gross domestic product (GDP) to employment in a country or region.

    Labour productivity has risen almost continuously in recent years, but 2020 is a notable exception. The Covid-19 crisis had an important impact on economic activity. The impact on employment is usually felt at a later stage.

  • Commuting has little influence on labour productivity

    Commuting, i.e. workers living in one region and working in another, had in 2020 little impact on labour productivity. If commuters from the Flemish Region were included in the calculation, labour productivity in the Flemish Region would be 2% higher. For the Walloon Region, the increase would be 4%. On the other hand, there would be a 1% drop in labour productivity in the Brussels-Capital Region.

  • Flanders labour productivity high compared to EU

    Within Belgium, the Brussels-Capital Region had in 2020 the highest value of labour productivity, which is due to the activities which are typical of a capital region and which generate significant gross value added. The Walloon Region had the lowest labour productivity, but is still above the average of the European Union (EU).

    In 2020 Flanders’ labour productivity was high compared to other European countries. Among the other EU countries, only Ireland and Luxembourg performed better than the Flemish Region. Flanders’ high level of labour productivity is an asset, since the same quantity of goods and services can be produced with fewer workers. Belgium's 3 direct neighbours and closest competitors all have lower labour productivity. There are considerable differences among the EU countries. In Ireland, for example, labour productivity was in 2020 4 times higher than in Bulgaria, which is at the bottom of the league.


Statistics Flanders: Regional economic outlook  
Institute of National Accounts (INR): Regional accounts 
European Commission macroeconomic database Ameco 


Labour productivity: a measure of the efficiency of the labour used. It represents the ratio of gross domestic product (GDP) to employment in a given country or region.   
Gross domestic product (GDP): the market value of the final goods and services sold in a country or region in 1 year.  
Purchasing power standard: monetary amounts are expressed in euro purchasing power standard (PPS) to facilitate proper international comparisons for the prices for the same goods and services vary significantly between countries.

Publication date

16 December 2020

Next update

July 2021

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