Unemployment in France. Mediocre developments.
As noted on this blog, the Eurostat data showed a somewhat surprising decline of French unemployment after the summer of 2015. Was this just a quirk of the data or a robust trend? Insee, the French statistical institute, measures employment and unemployment only once every three months and the monthly data are calculated using some auxiliary information. But now, Insee has new quarterly data. These show that:
- French normal unemployment has been high and more or less stable during the last year. I.e.: no clear decline, it was a quirk of the data.
- But French broad unemployment (as they call it: ‘Le halo autour du chômage’) has declined quite a bit during the last year.
- The employment rate of especially the 55-64 generation is increasing, albeit not in a spectacular fashion
- But it went down a little in the 25-49 age group
A slightly boring though not entirely negative situation. However, countries bordering France show high (Spain), serious (UK) or moderate job growth (Germany) and declining unemployment. Is the, in comparison, mediocre French development due to supply side constraints? At the very least not in its entirety: between 2006 and 2008 unemployment went down fast – I see no reason why that could not happen again. But considering low interest rates, low oil prices and the virtual end of austerity the stagnation is reason for concern.