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France – Industry hit by decline in temporary employment

30 April 2013

With unemployment on the rise and the job market remaining tight, the French staffing market deteriorated further last month with major sectors noting falling demand for temporary agency workers.

In March, the staffing industry continued to contract with the number of temporary employees falling by -12.6%, according to the latest employment barometer by the French association of employment agencies (PRISME). But this is below the overall decline seen during the first three months of the year. In the first quarter, temporary employment recorded a drop of -13.4%, compared to the same time a year ago.

Large sectors saw weakening market conditions. The number of agency workers fell sharply by -14.9% in the industrial sector where over half of agency workers are active. Construction firms also cut back on temporary staff during the month with their numbers dropping by -14.6%.

The trade and services sectors posted falls of -9.9% and -10.6% respectively. But declines were more moderate in the transport sector where the number of agency workers fell by -2%.

Again, unskilled workers were most affected by the slowdown with their numbers declining by -13.8%. However, demand for managers and professionals also dropped by -13.1%, followed by skilled workers (-12.3%) and white collar workers (-10.3%).

All regions saw falling demand for temporary workers. For months, north and eastern France has been the worst affected region with agency employment falling sharply across Franche-Comte (-20.2%), Alsace (-18.6%), Burgundy (-17.7%), Nord-Pas-de-Calais (-17.6%) and Lorraine (-16.2%).

Staffing Industry Analysts does not expect the French staffing market to return to growth this year. According to the latest market forecasts for Europe, the French staffing industry is expected to deteriorate in 2013, given weak economic growth forecasts for the year ahead.

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