Employment: hiring breaks records in France

Employment: hiring breaks records in France
Employment: hiring breaks records in France

Record beaten, narrowly, but still beaten. The number of declarations of hires for more than a month excluding temporary workers approached 840,000 in September. Nearly 8,000 more than the all-time high in June, according to data released on Wednesday by Urssaf. The number of permanent contract hires remained stable, which did not prevent it from exceeding the threshold of 400,000 for the third time since June. These three crossings are also the only ones recorded by the recovery branch of Social Security since… January 2006!

Examination of the figures with a quarterly magnifying glass, which makes it possible to better detect trends, confirms that the job market has continued its momentum since the end of the third confinement, even if it is still partly due to the catching-up effect of periods of sanitary restriction and that this could be done to the detriment of productivity.

Quantity and quality

At 2.44 million this summer, sustainable hires are up 11.4% compared to the second quarter: we have never counted so many in three months since January 2000. Services, industry and construction have all benefited. If we add the fixed-term contracts of less than a month, the period from July to September recorded 6.6 million recruitments, barely 80,000 less than in the last three months of 2019.

Contrary to what was feared, employment has therefore quickly regained the ground lost since the Covid crisis. Another notable point, the quantity went hand in hand with the quality of the posts offered, at least on the criterion of the duration of engagement. Thus, still in the third quarter, the share of hires of more than one month excluding temporary staff stood at 37%, or 5 points more than in the last quarter of 2019. That of permanent contracts alone gained 2 points, to 18%. .

Without the timing being a big deal, the publication of these figures is not trivial: it comes just before the interim decision of the Council of State on the reform of unemployment insurance. After hearing last Thursday in adversarial hearing the unions, which again request its suspension – and the Ministry of Labor, which defends it, the judge in charge of the case must render his decision at the end of this week.

To justify the first suspension, in June, the highest administrative court argued that the labor market had (then) not yet found a sufficient shape to justify the tightening wanted by the government. As a reminder, the new formula for calculating the allowance is supposed to promote the return to work for those who alternate periods without or with employment. In view of the figures of the Urssaf, the judge will objectively not be able to take up this argument again.

Eligibility and degressivity

In the meantime, two other aspects of the reform are on track to be implemented: the minimum number of months to be compensated, which is called eligibility, and the number of months from which the allowance will drop by 30 % for the highest salaries (degression, under 57). The first will drop from four to six and the second from eight to six if two indicators supposed to reflect the return to better fortune on the job market are reached simultaneously from September.

The first of these indicators concerns hires for more than one month, excluding temporary workers, which must have exceeded 2.7 million cumulatively over four rolling months. At over 3.2 million last month, that is largely the case. The other indicator – a drop of at least 130,000 in the number of unemployed without activity over six months – can be calculated on Wednesday, October 27, when the Pôle Emploi figures are published. Considering the figures for August, he has a great chance of being reached as well.

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