Unemployment rate of 7.4% in the third quarter: simple hiccup or trend reversal?

A serious stop to the improvement in unemployment. 64,000 is the number of additional job seekers registered in the last third quarter, or a total of 2.3 million people without any activity (as defined by the ILO). The unemployment rate rose to 7.4% of the active population in France (excluding Mayotte), according to figures published on Wednesday, November 15, by the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee). A negative result that follows a slight increase to 7.2% that started in the second quarter.

Simple temporary hiccup or trend reversal? The question is now asked. As a government we want to be reassuring. “We could expect such an increase given the slowdown in the global economy,” Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt immediately responded in a message to the press, confirming that he remains “mobilized” in the face of this increase, which he hopes will “ punctual” will be. .

In August, when the unemployment rate first veered off track, the executive branch wanted reassurance that the path to full employment was being maintained. This topic is all the more sensitive because it represents one of the markers of the five-year term. Indeed, President Macron has promised to bring France back into the ranks of Europe’s good students, with an unemployment rate of 5% by 2027.

Economists were divided about the situation on the labor market

Economists are currently divided between pessimists and optimists. For OFCE’s Mathieu Plane, “it is more than just a one-off effect. We have arrived at a moment of change in the sustainable labor market,” says the deputy director of the Analysis and Forecasting department. And added: “The euphoria of job creation, with almost 300,000 jobs saved during Covid thanks to whatever it costs, it’s all over! Today we are in an adaptation scenario.”

OFCE projections also predict an unemployment rate of 7.9% at the end of 2024. At the OECD, on the other hand, economist Andrea Garnero admits “that today, with an uncertain international situation, it is difficult to have a crystal ball. ” In his view, “it is currently a small turnaround that we see in other countries (…), but France is doing well so far. The decline in unemployment in recent years has been remarkable, he emphasizes, even if it belongs sector is not among the best performers at European level. »

Youth unemployment is increasing

If the unemployment rate for the third quarter in a year rises by 0.2 points and returns to the level of the second quarter of 2022, it will remain significantly below the peak of mid-2015 (-3.1 points), the INSEE said. Overall, the unemployment rate rose by 0.7 percentage points for 15-24 year olds in the third quarter, to 17.6%, almost at the level of a year earlier (-0.1 point).

For the 25-49 age groups, it rose by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter and by 0.3 percentage points over a year, to 6.7%. Finally, the unemployment rate for those aged 50 or older is stable over the quarter and over a year, at 5.1%. The long-term unemployment rate (at least one year) also remained stable last quarter, at 1.8% of the active population.

More worryingly, the ‘unemployment halo’, i.e. people who want to return to the labor market but are not considered unemployed by the ILO (who are actually looking for a job and available to take one), also increases for him. Certainly “something” over the quarter (+39,000), but according to INSEE it will explode in a year (+164,000). Two million people are affected.

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