March 25, 2023

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The labor market is still not stalling in France


If the INSEE forecasts in mid-June are confirmed, salaried employment is on track to chain ten quarters of increase in France since the end of 2020. It would still be four less than the number of consecutive victories of the XV of France before its defeat against Ireland, but it would be indicative of the good resistance of the labor market in a context of sluggish growth, high inflation and war in Europe.

Confirming the figures from mid-December, the economic report from the statistical institute published on Wednesday expects a slowdown in job creations over the first six months of the year, without them stalling. In detail, they should increase respectively by 19,000 and 14,000 in the first and second quarters (+0.1% and +0.1%).

Sluggish salaried employment

“In the first half of 2023, salaried employment would remain sluggish, whether in work-study or non-work-study programs, in the wake of activity”, anticipates INSEE. As a result, per capita productivity – which relates value added to employment, the subject of many questions among economists – would be almost stable. “It would thus still remain well below its level before the health crisis, in particular in industry: this difference is partly explained by the clear development of work-study during the period”, according to the Insee.

The same causes producing the same effects, self-employment will also slow down, all leading to an increase in total employment of 43,000 between the 1er January and June 30, compared to +229,000 over the same period of 2022, an exceptional period due to the post-Covid recovery. As since the end of the health crisis, it is the commercial tertiary sector – in which temporary workers are inserted without distinction – which acts as a locomotive. The industry would gain 4,000 jobs.

This relative good performance of the labor market is reflected in the number of job offers available on the Pôle Emploi site, posted directly or collected on those of partner recruitment sites. At more than 1.1 million, they remain at a very high level. The graphs of the public operator show that the share of CDI offers has gained more than 10 points since 2019, to more than 65%.

At its lowest since the beginning of 2008, except for a “trompe-l’oeil” decline in the second quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate is expected to remain stable, at 7.2% of the working population. “In the first half of 2023, the active population should grow at a similar rate to that of the fourth quarter of 2022”, still according to INSEE.

To note

The SMIC will probably increase on 1er June taking into account inflation, anticipates INSEE.