Employment slowed in the first quarter in France, but is still resisting

L'emploi dans les secteurs tertiaires marchand ou non marchand a très fortement progressé par rapport à l'avant crise du Covid.


Undoubtedly slowing down, but resistance much stronger than expected. This emerges from the INSEE provisional estimate of first quarter earnings data published on Friday. Despite the growth failure recorded in the first three months of the year, the private sector workforce increased by 0.3% between the end of December and the end of March, or 66,100 additional jobs.

That’s up from double the last three months of last year, but it’s far more than the 15,000 net creatures the National Statistics Office had predicted so far.

Analytically, temporary employment decreased slightly (−1.4% or −11,500 jobs), after experiencing a jump in late 2021, which is partly related to the need to replace workers on sick leave due to the coronavirus epidemic. Omicron variant. Despite this downturn, which follows seven consecutive quarters of growth, temporary work remains above pre-crisis levels, according to INSEE: + 4.8% or +37,500 more jobs compared to the end of 2019, exactly.

The industry has not recovered

With the exception of temporary work, private employment follows the same trends as at the end of the last childbirth. Thus, according to the previous four quarters, the industry made very little progress, gaining 3,100 jobs (+ 0.1%). Its workforce has increased since the end of 2020, but not to the point of compensating for the bleeding caused by Covid (−1.1% or −32,900 jobs compared to the end of 2019).

The driving force behind job creation in France, the commercial tertiary sector, continues to grow, but also shows signs of slowing down: the number of jobs created, excluding temporary workers, increased by 0.3% after +0, 5% (ie +38,900 after +57,100 jobs). The balance in relation to pre-crisis, however, remains very favorable (+218.300).

The non-tradable tertiary sector should not be exceeded (+ 1.2%, or 29,700 more jobs). Finally, in the construction sector, INSEE reports a further increase of 0.4%, ie 6,000 more jobs, with, in terms of the tertiary sector as a whole, a very clear coverage in the last two years (+5, 1%, +73.600 jobs).

“Employment was better maintained in the first quarter than we expected, but there could be a lagging effect. “If the slowdown continues due to the global crisis or inflation, then it will burden employment in the coming quarters,” said Sylvain Larrieu, head of INSEE’s Labor Market and Financial Summary Division.

The research company Asterès also highlights the good employment momentum in the first quarter, but expects, due to the effects of the war in Ukraine, which broke the growth momentum, a less intense growth for the rest of the year. “Inflation could also lead central banks to tighter monetary policies, punishing job creation,” said economists Sylvain Bersinger and Guillaume Moukala Same.

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