Real economic growth

  • Real economic growth of 5.8% expected in 2021

    Real economic growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Flanders is estimated at 5.8% in 2021. This means that the economy is recovering for a significant part from the slump in 2020 (-6.1%) due to the COVID-19 crisis. Particularly in industry and construction, economic activity is picking up. The recovery is slower in the service sectors. GDP growth for 2022 is estimated at 2.8%.

    In 2009 the Flemish economy went into recessionA partial recovery followed in 2010 and 2011, but in subsequent years, the debt and euro crisis emerged. 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 sometimes just above. 2020 saw strong negative growth as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Labour productivity a major determinant for current economic growth

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

  • Flemish economic growth in 2021 among highest in EU

    The estimated real GDP growth in 2021 in the Walloon Region (+5.7%) is comparable to that of the Flemish Region. The Brussels-Capital Region records +4.2%.

    The data for the 27 countries of the European Union (EU27) predict for 2021 the strongest growth for Romania and Ireland (+7.4% and +7.2%). The EU27 average is estimated at 4.8%. The Belgian growth forecast is at 5.4% higher than the EU average.

    Every EU country shows estimated positive growth figures in 2021. The strongest growers are a number of Eastern European member states and France and Spain. Finland and Denmark are lagging behind.


FPB, VSA, IWEPS, BISA: Regional economic outlook
Institute of National Accounts: Regional accounts 
European Commission: Summer Forecast 2021 


Gross domestic product: the monetary value of the final goods and services produced in a given country or region over one year’s time.
Real economic growth: the increase in GDP, expressed in real or constant prices, in which the impact of inflation has been filtered out.
Recession: a negative real economic growth during 2 or more consecutive quarters.

Publication date

28 September 2021

Next update

September 2022

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