The coronavirus pandemic has really hit the French economy more than ever. The resulting economic crisis is so exceptional that the new statistics are too. Indeed, in June, the number of unemployed job seekers reached a new record in France.
“The largest monthly drop observed since 1996”
In June, the number of job seekers without any category A activity experienced a record decrease in France, including the overseas territories. A number of nearly 205,000 job seekers, according to data shared by Pôle emploi and the Dares (Directorate of the Ministry of Labor in charge of studies) on July 27.
It’s about the “largest monthly decline observed since the start of this statistical series, in 1996”, Reports the Dares. This decrease corresponds to a decline of 4.6%, which is even more significant than that of May which was -3.3%. While these statistics appear positive, they should still be interpreted with caution. Indeed, other data show that the labor market is particularly in a state of shock: the category A workforce is very high, 4.22 million in June. The 4 million mark had never been exceeded in such a few months. This therefore clearly shows the extent of the damage caused by the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
In addition, the number of job seekers looking for work and having already worked, either category B and C, continued to increase sharply in June: by more than 13.9%, in other words a increase almost as large as in May (over 14.2%). Thus, the ranks of job seekers, categories A, B and C combined, are still increasing but less rapidly than before: more than 31,500 in June against more than 61,000 in May. They are now 6.157 million, which is indeed a record figure since 1996.
Results that “do not come as a surprise”
“These results do not come as a surprise. Some of the people, previously counted in category A, have returned to an activity, but more or less lasting, so that they preferred to remain registered with Pôle emploi, in categories B and C of the public operator – those of job seekers who have worked ”, commented Eric Heyer, member of the French Economic Observatory (OFCE).
“The restart of the economy, undeniable since the end of confinement, has therefore had beneficial effects. But this is still a timid recovery, offering uncertain prospects in terms of professional integration. The impressive deterioration that occurred in March and April has certainly stopped, but unemployment remains at very high levels. In other words, it’s getting better, but it’s not doing so well”, He also added.
Statistics that suggest a form of “back to normal”
These statistics therefore suggest “sort of back to normal. In March and April, those who left Pôle emploi were much less numerous than usual, due to the scarcity of offers offered by companies. This development is taking place in a context where unemployment tends to persist ”, explained Andrea Garnero, member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “The labor market is normalizing without being able to speak of a rebound”, also reacted François Fontaine, professor at the Paris School of Economics.
All French territories are affected by this decrease, except Guyana, which “continued to be subject to more restrictive measures in the context of the state of health emergency”, Reports the Dares. Moreover, “the decline in the workforce in category A is driven by the decrease in the number of individuals looking for a profession in construction and construction, as well as in hotels and tourism”. Eric Heyer further added that “this rebound is driven by household consumption, which is proving to be more dynamic than expected”.
“We get into the hard”
“The overall situation will remain very poor in the second half of the year. It is not a question of knowing whether unemployment will increase, but up to what peak it will peak ”, said Eric Meyer. “We are getting into the hard. Over the next few months, there will be a lot of layoffs in small businesses and social plans. Will the start of the school year in September be bad or catastrophic? ”, said Bertrand Martinot, member of the Institut Montaigne.
So, “it will undoubtedly take many months before being able to make up for the damage caused by the health crisis ”, estimated François Fontaine. “The high level of uncertainty is likely to translate into more precarious jobs, as pointed out by the strong recovery in the number of people in categories B and C since May. There will be a entrenchment of unemployment likely to register in the long term for many job seekers ”, finally concluded Andrea Garnero.