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France – Temporary staffing market declines but shows improvements

11 October 2012

Official statistics by the French job centre Pôle emploi show that the number of temporary workers declined further in August by -8.1% year-on-year, but overall there are some signs of improvement.

Seasonally adjusted figures show that there were around 596,200 temporary workers active in the month, seeing an increase from July by +1.6%.

In August, the average number of daily temporary assignments was 367,500, seeing a -9.3% year-on- year decline and a +1.1% increase month-on-month.

In August, the industrial sector and services sector (tertiary industry), reported an increase in numbers by +1.1% and +3.4% respectively. But there were fewer jobs for temporary workers in the construction industry as their number dropped by -0.1%. 

Major sectors within the industry, such as the manufacturing industry for food/beverages/tobacco saw a +7.4% increase in temporary workers. In mining, energy, water, waste management this figure was also up by +2.3%. Declines were posted in the manufacturing sector for industrial products (-0.3%), transport equipment (-1.0%) and electronic goods (-1.2%).  

Within the services sector, transport and storage saw the sharpest increase at +8.4%, followed by the trade/repair of motor vehicles sector at +2.8%. Activities in the science/technical/administration sectors, as well as the education/human health/social work sectors were both down by -0.2% and -2.4%.    

The fall in the number of female temporary workers (-9.2%) was more prominent than for their male counterparts (-7.8%). The data also shows that within the course of one year, the decrease in temporary employment affected all age groups.  

The number of skilled white collar workers declined by -6.4% overall, compared to a fall of -6.8% of those working in managerial positions. Unskilled workers were most affected, seeing a year-on-year decrease of -11%. 

In August, 16 regions saw a rise in temporary employment, particularly in Languedoc-Roussillon (+9.1%). This is followed by Central Normandy (+5.4%) and Upper Normandy (+4.3%).

Temporary employment has suffered in France this year with staffing firms reporting difficult trading conditions as unemployment has been on the rise and proposed labour market reforms increase uncertainty in the industry. 

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