Employment and work

50% of cross-border workers in the Grand Est region of France work in Luxembourg

87,779 French workers cross the border each day

Etude CESER sur les frontaliersAccording to a study carried out by the French institute CESER Grand Est (Conseil économique, social et environnemental régional), based on, among other things, figures provided by the Grand Duchy's national institute of statistics and economic studies STATEC, 87,779 French workers cross the border from France into Luxembourg each day to get to their workplace in the Grand Duchy. Thus Luxembourg on its own accounts for 50% of cross-border employment in the Grand Est region, corresponding to a growth figure of 5.4% (4,592 jobs) in one year. Over 10 years, that figure has increased by 25,600 jobs, representing a constant rise apart from a slight fall during the crisis in the years 2008 and 2009.

Luxembourg: a magnet for French, German and Belgian workers

According to STATEC’s figures for the first quarter of 2016, French cross-border workers represent the largest group amongst the cross-border employees working in Luxembourg. However, their share of the cross-border workforce fell during the period from 2002 (52%) to 2016 (50.8%), as did that of the Belgian workers (28% in 2002 compared to 24.6% in 2016). By contrast, the proportion of workers residing in Germany increased over that same period from 20% to 24.5% and is now on a par with the percentage in respect of workers living in Belgium.

The 20-year period from 1996 to 2016 has seen a threefold increase in the number of cross-border workers entering the country, which has risen from 57,573 persons in the first quarter of 1996 to 174,669 in the first quarter of 2016. The economic crisis of 2007-2008 seems to have had only a limited impact. Indeed, the number fell only slightly in 2009 and then bounced back up again in 2010 (+2.8%).

In total, Luxembourg provides jobs to 88,779 French workers, 43,088 Belgians and 42,817 Germans.

Good working conditions are the main factor accounting for the increase

These figures reflect the working conditions, and above all the salaries paid to cross-border workers in Luxembourg. The average annual salary paid to cross-border workers entering the country varies markedly depending on their country of origin. According to a STATEC study dating from May 2015, a French cross-border worker is paid an average of 44,879 euros per year, compared to 55,701 euros for a Belgian cross-border worker and 52,197 euros for a German cross-border worker. Thus, in 2014, French cross-border workers earned nearly 11,000 euros less per year than their Belgian colleagues and 7,000 euros less than their German colleagues.

This is due to a certain "specialisation" amongst cross-border workers in various sectors, characterised by significant differences in terms of the salaries paid. Compared to Belgian and German cross-border workers, French cross-border workers were over-represented in less well-paid jobs, for example in the hotels/catering sector, shops/stores and temporary work.

As regards unemployment, the study notes significant divergences between the levels for the different regions. Thus, Baden-Württemberg is in the lead with 4.1%, followed by Switzerland (4.7%), Rhineland-Palatinate (5.4%) and Luxembourg (6.6%). Saarland (7.6%), the Grand Est region (10.1%) and Wallonia (12%) are doing less well. However, the study also shows that the unemployment rate is falling in Luxembourg, as well as in the Grand Est and Rhineland-Palatinate.

For further information about the employment situation in Luxembourg, please consult this page from the STATEC website.

Each day, a total of 175,313 French workers leave the territory of France to travel to their workplace in one of the bordering countries.

Apart from Luxembourg, the cross-border workers head for, among other places, Switzerland (34,450), the German Länder of Baden-Württemberg (22,562) and Saarland (17,951), and Belgium (8,500). These figures come from the statistical institutes of the different territories and represent the situation in the first quarter of 2016 for Switzerland and Luxembourg.

(Article written by the editorial team of the portal www.luxembourg.lu / Sources: CESER Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine "La conjoncture économique et sociale dans la région Grand Est et ses territoires"; STATEC "Regards N° 08/2015 : Regards sur l’impact des frontaliers dans la balance des paiements")

  • Updated 01-10-2016