During the 10 years following the steel crisis, in 1975, employment has stagnated or even sometimes gone down. It has only been since the middle of the eighties that employment has recorded an exceptional growth accompanied by significant structural changes. Whilst the demand for work in industry has gone down, it has expanded significantly in the tertiary sector. Since this demand cannot be met by the native workforce and immigrant workers, the use, from 1985, of cross-border workers resident in one of the neighbouring countries, has continually been on the increase. Since 2002, the growth in employment has slowed down and the unemployment rate, which was relatively low until then, has continued to rise.
The employment trend and structure can be charted with the help of different statistical sources using distinct definitions and concepts: - the general population census and the labour force surveys (LFS) which only cover the resident population; - the social security files, the national accounts (employment by branches of activity), all three of which also include the cross-border workers.
The unemployment figures relate to registered unemployment as defined by the Administration de l'emploi [Department of Employment] (ADEM). They provide information on job seekers and job offers, placements, those receiving unemployment benefit and job seekers out of work according to different breakdowns (sex, age groups, nationality, level of education, period of unemployment).