France : une croissance plus riche en emploi

This article is published in Futuribles journal no.243, juin 1999

As we have stressed many times in Futuribles when discussing French economic growth, the employment response has been weak compared with other industrialized countries. Arnaud Gérardin demonstrates here that the situation is gradually getting better. In the ’70s, it took an increase of at least 2.6 % in GDP to generate growth in employment. This figure fell to 2.2 % in the ’80s and should come close to 1.2 % in the ’90s.
The author goes on to describe the factors which have contributed to this improvement and to identify their respective influence :
– the first element is development within the sector of tertiary activities, which is important because apparent labor productivity there is generally weaker than in industry ;
– the increase in part-time work, especially since 1992, should be a second factor ;
– the development of short-term employment contracts is a third element ;
– last, the reduction of social expenditures within the framework of the quinquennial law, coupled with a moderate increase in wages, has probably contributed to the general amelioration.
Arnaud Gérardin translates the contributions into percentages : 10 % for the internal changes within the sectors of the economy, 20 % for the development of part time work, 20 to 30 % for the development of short term contractual work, and 20 to 30 % for the policy aimed at reducing social expenditures.
It is nevertheless important to note that with the number of employees and job seekers increasing in average by 140,000 per year (that means 1 % of private sector employment), the growth rate required to stabilize unemployment is greater than the rate which can keep employment constant. If about 1.2 % is sufficient today to stabilize employment, it would take 2.2 % growth to keep unemployment at a constant share of the work force.

#Croissance économique #emploi #France