France has attained its lowest unemployment rate since 1982, as indicated by the national statistics office, with the first quarter of 2023 seeing a total of 2.2 million job seekers. Although the unemployment rate remains stable at 7.1%, there has been a rise in unemployment among the senior population during the initial three months of the year.
The year 2023 is initiating on a parallel note to the conclusion of 2022 in terms of employment trends. During the first quarter, the number of individuals categorized as unemployed, according to the stricter classification by the International Labor Office (ILO), experienced a marginal reduction. Specifically, the tally decreased by 7,000 individuals in comparison to the last quarter of 2022. The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) has reported the number of unemployed individuals to be 2.2 million. Consequently, the unemployment rate remains unwavering at 7.1% within the confines of France, excluding Mayotte. Such a percentage has not been achieved since the second quarter of 1982, barring the decline triggered by the Covid-19 crisis.
The rate of unemployment among the youth has slightly dwindled by 0.2 percentage points, settling at 16.6%. This mirrors a stable rate in comparison to the initial quarter of 2022, which stood at 16.7%. Conversely, the unemployment rate for individuals aged 50 and above, a topic subject to extensive debate during discussions on pension reforms, has witnessed a 0.2% escalation in the first three months of the year, culminating in a rate of 5.2%. Nonetheless, this figure remains lower than the corresponding rate from a year ago, with a decrease of 0.3 percentage points.
Given the ongoing economic backdrop characterized by heightened inflation and sluggish growth, the absence of fluctuations in these statistics augurs well for the government. The government's target of accomplishing "full employment" by 2027 – denoting an unemployment rate of approximately 5% among the labor force – appears within reach. Despite concerns, the labor market retains its resilience, displaying no indications of a reversal.
Olivier Dussopt, the Minister of Labor, has affirmed the government's commitment to realizing full employment via initiatives encompassing training, apprenticeship programs, economic reinforcement, and amplified support for vulnerable segments under the France Travail project. He conveyed these assertions through a Twitter post.
Additionally, affirmative tidings emerge through an improved employment rate among individuals aged 15 to 64. This metric has surged by 0.3 percentage points, culminating at 68.6% for the quarter. This marks the highest echelon since INSEE's commencement of tracking in 1975. This sanguine trend envelops all age brackets, inclusive of a 0.2 percentage point upswing in the employment rate for those aged 15 to 24, now standing at 35.3%. This figure signifies the peak since 1990.