Why France’s economy is holding up (despite everything)

fluctuat NEC mergitur. The French economy could adopt the motto of Paris in this year 2023. Battered by the waves of successive crises for three years, the country is not sinking. As if it did not want to accept the decline that the Cassandres have been promising for decades, France is showing unexpected resilience, even if its structural weaknesses persist and, for some of them, have worsened. Under the cobblestones of blockages linked to the disputed pension reform, many economic indicators remain well oriented.

This article is taken from “Special Edition Le Monde: 40 maps to understand how France is doing” 2023. This special issue is on sale in kiosks or on the Internet by visiting our boutique website.

As entrusted to World the boss of a large investment bank, the idea that the situation could turn into a disaster is not on the minds of investors. For them, it’s a French-style crisis, like the country has known others. ». The justice of the peace for the financial markets is the famous “spread”, the difference in yield between the ten-year French government bond and its German equivalent. And, on this level, it is dead calm.

However, nothing will have been spared the French economy: pandemic crisis, shortages of components disrupting production, soaring energy prices, war in Ukraine, inflation, rising interest rates and now social and political crisis . Despite these tumults, France continues to create jobs, against all odds.

Has the country of mass unemployment begun its transformation? Too early to say but, whatever the skeptics think, the proportion of French people in employment has never been so high. According to “photograph of the labor market in 2022” published by INSEE, 68.1% of people aged 15 to 64 hold a job. Unheard of since 1975, when the statistics body began to measure this data. For the seventh year in a row, the unemployment rate has fallen, settling at an annual average of 7.3% in 2022, i.e. 3 points less than in 2015. The inversion of the unemployment curve dear to François Hollande is no longer an incantation, it is now a reality.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Unemployment: the figures remain stable in the last quarter of 2022

The improvement is both quantitative and qualitative. Overall, precariousness is declining, in terms of employment contracts and working hours. Hirings on permanent contracts increased by more than 20% compared to the level at the end of 2019. The number of full-time employees has never been so high (57%), and the proportion of young people aged 15 to 29 years who are neither in employment nor in training decreases. Even if France still has three million unemployed, the fact that the theme of employment has virtually disappeared from public debate is a good indicator of the improvement in the situation.

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