Statec report

Wage inequality stable despite pandemic

The document touches upon incomes, affordable housing crisis, inequalities in the face of illness and employment.  Copyright (c) 2018 Shutterstock.

The document touches upon incomes, affordable housing crisis, inequalities in the face of illness and employment.  Copyright (c) 2018 Shutterstock.

The pandemic has not impacted wage inequality in Luxembourg in 2020, according to a report released by Statec, Luxembourg’s national statistics bureau, on Thursday.

The study looked into the development of incomes, housing, and inequalities in the face of illness and employment.

“The economic crisis following the covid-19 health crisis has not affected average household income in 2020 compared to 2019,” said Statec in its report. The organisation estimated the average disposable income of Luxembourg in 2020 to be €5,884, a 2.1% increase to 2019. Statec relied on data of the General Inspectorate of Social Security (IGSS) for its estimates. 

The at-risk-of-poverty rate remained relatively stable, going from 17.4% in 2019 to 17.2% in 2020. The unemployment rate in Luxembourg was at 6.8%, which was slightly better than the EU median of 7.1%, despite the 7.7% peak Luxembourg reached during lockdown in May 2020.

Statec attributes part of the survival of the employment market to partial unemployment, but notes that, worryingly, 51% of jobseekers in 2020 had been unemployed for more than 12 months, meaning there were 36.2% more long-term jobseekers than the year before.

Statec also noted that diplomas had an influence of employment; the unemployment rate among higher education graduates was at 4.7%, whereas those with a lower secondary degree were at 11.4% and high school graduates at 6.9%. Still, Luxembourg saw an increase of 2% in the number of jobs in the country, a contrast to the 1.5% loss the EU suffered overall in 2020.

Health and housing, breeding grounds for inequality

The pandemic has highlighted the insecurities many face regarding healthcare and affordable housing, Statec said. More than three quarters of households (78.9%) said their housing situation represents an important financial burden. The findings confirm Luxembourg’s affordable housing crisis as nearly four out of five people worried about the cost of their home.

The report finally pointed at the higher incidence of infection and hospitalisation among people from lower-income and larger households. Despite this, and Luxembourg’s excess mortality (5.1 years on average) in 2020, the country seems to have performed better than its European neighbours.

Blue-collar workers were also at a higher risk of being exposed to physical danger in the work place, whereas white-collar employees tended to be affected by mental illnesses more, Statec said.