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Real economic growth

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Real economic growth of 1.4% in 2023

of the (GDP) in Flanders is estimated at 1.4% in 2023. In early 2023, inflation slowed and economic growth recovered somewhat. Business services, construction and equipment manufacturing experienced the strongest growth. In 2024, real GDP growth in the Flemish Region is expected to reach +1.7% due to an improvement in the international economy. This will mainly ensure a growth acceleration in industry.

In 2010 and 2011, the Flemish economy partially recovered from the 2009 , but in the following years the debt and euro crises reared their heads. This was accompanied by an accumulation of debt, primarily in Mediterranean countries and created tensions in the euro area. From 2014 to 2019, the growth in Flanders was always close to 2%, or just above (2015). 2020 saw strong negative growth (-4.9%) as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. In 2021 (+6.7%), the economy recovered from the COVID-19 slump. That recovery continued in 2022 (+3.3%), despite the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices.

Employment dominant for economic growth in 2022 and beyond

The real increase in labour productivity largely determined the development of the Flemish real GDP in 2020 and 2021. Employment was less affected by the COVID-19 crisis due to supportive measures such as temporary unemployment and bridging rights. In 2022 and beyond, employment trends are dominant. In the 2010-2015 period, the evolution of labour productivity also played a dominant role in economic growth. In the 2016-2019 period, the evolution of employment played the dominant role.

Flemish economic growth in 2023 above European average

The real GDP decline in the Flemish Region was -4.9% in 2020. This is less steep than in the 2 other regions (both -6.0%). The EU27 average came to -5.6% in 2020. Among our neighbours, Germany and the Netherlands did less badly (-3.7% and -3.9%). But the economic downturn was stronger in France (-7.8%).

GDP growth in 2023 will be slightly stronger in the Flemish Region (+1.4%) than in the Brussels-Capital Region (+1.3%) or the Walloon Region (+0.9%).

Flemish economic growth in 2023 is above the +1.0% average for the EU27. The strongest growth is foreseen in Ireland and Malta. Sweden and Estonia have slightly negative growth.

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