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France – Unemployment nears three million as staffing market recovery not expected

28 August 2012

After several firms such as Peugeot and supermarket chain Carrefour recently announced mass layoffs which will also impact temporary workers, the latest unemployment data shows that the number of jobless people in France continued to climb sharply in July.

For the 15th month in a row unemployment was up, seeing a significant rise to 2.987 million in the month, up +8.5% from a year ago. This is the biggest monthly increase seen since the financial crisis three years ago.

Other statistics this week confirmed the weakness of the French labour market has also impacted the number of job offers received by the national employment agency; this figure dropped by -7.7% in July from the previous month, seeing the biggest fall since January 2009.

The temporary labour market has also been deteriorating as the most recent statistics for June showed that the number of temporary workers dropped by -9.0% in the month to 605,200.

Particularly blue-skilled workers have been affected by the slowdown and Adecco director for the South East region, Emmanuel Flory, said today that the French labour market climate is marked by increasing uncertainty.

“The situation is not comparable with that experienced during the 2009 crisis when industries were in a complete disaster. Today, no business is positive on temporary recruitments. But some suffer less than others, with market declines between 0 and -5%,” Mr Flory said to the newspaper Le Progress.

He suspects a recovery of the labour market cannot be expected before the third or fourth quarter of 2013 as a number of firms have announced restructuring programmes, i.e. redundancies. “We are in a climate of uncertainty. We sometimes find it difficult to provide a forecast because our customers are increasingly uncertain,” he said.  

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