Despite a sharp slowdown in growth due to the war in Ukraine, companies are continuing to recruit on a massive scale, and the number of new hires remains high. At the same time, the number of jobless people registered with Pôle Emploi rose slightly in April, for the first time in a year.
Record number of new hires in April
April saw a record number of new hires, with 421,400 permanent contracts and 812,192 fixed-term contracts of more than one month signed. According to Urssaf, the previous record for the number of new hires dates back to 2006, or even further. In total, the Pôle Emploi website lists over a million job offers.
However, 3 months after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, growth has slowed sharply. According to Insee forecasts, GDP is set to grow by just 0.25% between April and June, after stagnating in the first quarter.
Although the number of people registered with Pôle Emploi in category A, i.e. without activity, rose slightly in April (+0.3% on March), this trend is not yet significant enough to indicate a lasting trend.
Declining individual productivity
According to some economists, 500,000 jobs are being artificially maintained by public aid in the midst of a health crisis, contributing to a fall in productivity.
For example, the short-time working scheme, which still concerned 110,000 full-time equivalents last December, would reduce productivity per head by counting these jobs even though they do not give rise to any production.
Telecommuting is also partly responsible for the drop in productivity, as is the development of the service sector, where individual productivity is low.
But other explanations are also put forward, notably the lower cost of labor resulting from the pro-business policies deployed over the last few years. As companies can now recruit more people, they no longer need as much individual productivity as in the past.
The employers' organization U2P, l'Union des entreprises de proximité, makes a similar observation and analysis. Supply-side policies implemented over the past few years have enabled VSE managers to hire, resulting in a more evenly distributed workload despite declining per capita productivity statistics.