Posted Jan 26, 2023, 6:00 PM
This was already the case in 2020 and 2021. The year 2022 is no exception: labor productivity has stalled in France, in the non-agricultural market sector. Per capita productivity lost 3% in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 2019, reveals a study by Dares, the statistics institute of the Ministry of Labor, published on Thursday.
Hourly productivity also fell by 2.9% in 2022, compared to 2019. The authors of the report point out that these two indicators have deviated from the trends that prevailed before the Covid crisis. Indeed, productivity at work had been on the rise, slightly but steadily, since 2015.
In 2022, per capita productivity is therefore significantly out of step with the initial forecasts (-6.4%) and hourly productivity is in a similar situation (-5.4%).
To explain this phenomenon, the authors of the report put forward several hypotheses. “The increase in the number of work-study trainees, a priori less productive than the rest of the people in employment because they are younger, less experienced and work fewer hours due to their training time, is one of the possible causes of the recent decline in labor productivity,” they write.
The share of work-study in salaried employment is increasing
Since 2019, the use of work-study trainees has increased considerably, in France, due to public policies favorable to their recruitment. The Pénicaud reform of 2018 liberalized the creation of Apprentice Training Centers (CFA) and the bonuses of 6,000 euros for hiring young people, decided as part of the recovery plan, maintained the momentum. Dares estimates that 930,000 apprenticeship contracts were in progress in September 2022, compared to 450,000 in 2019. As a result, the share of work-study in salaried employment is increasing, reaching 4% in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 2 .7% at the end of 2018.
Not the only factor
But the use of alternating is not the only explanation. Indeed, according to the calculations of the authors of the report, this phenomenon would play on the fall in productivity by up to a fifth. They also put forward the appearance, in the calculations, of employees who were not previously registered “due to the regularization of hidden work”, with the aim of receiving aid for short-time working, or “a substitution resident workers or posted workers returned to their country of origin”.
In certain sectors, affected by a drop in activity, the “retention of labor by companies” could also be one of the factors of this drop in productivity. Finally, the authors of the study point to the “significant number of sick leaves which have persisted since the health crisis”.
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