After the severe contraction in 2020, GDP is projected to expand by 4.7% in 2021 and 3.5% in 2022. As the vaccination campaign accelerates, uncertainties about the epidemic situation are expected to recede. Along with improved global economic prospects, business investment is set to be unleashed and pent-up demand is expected to boost household consumption. The recovery should gather pace, with GDP surpassing the pre-crisis level towards mid-2022.
Improving business dynamism will be key to revive productivity growth and job creation in recovery. Reforms are hence needed to lower barriers to entry but also smooth the restructuring of firms and exit of non-viable ones. A more flexible labour market and activation policies will ensure the conditions for productive firms to grow and increase inclusiveness.
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2021 Structural Reform Priorities
The latest OECD Economic Survey of Belgium notes that robust job creation, albeit mostly in low-wage industries, has led to the unemployment rate falling to a historic low. Economic growth has been steady, but remains below average euro area levels, and productivity growth has stagnated. Future reforms should seek to lower employment barriers to disadvantaged groups, help innovative businesses to thrive, and further ease pressures on public finances.