Europe 1, with AFP 08:18, February 18, 2022

The unemployment rate fell by 0.6 points in the fourth quarter, now amounting to 7.4% of the population, according to figures released this Friday by INSEE.

It has particularly fallen among young people, registering one of its lowest levels lately. 

The unemployment rate fell sharply in the fourth quarter of 2021 (-0.6 points compared to the previous quarter) to 7.4% of the working population in France (excluding Mayotte), according to figures published Friday by INSEE.

In the fourth quarter, the number of unemployed as defined by the International Labor Office (ILO) in France (excluding Mayotte) reached 2.2 million people, or 189,000 less over the quarter.


- Unemployment: 500,000 fewer job seekers over one year

Over the previous four quarters, the unemployment rate had remained virtually stable, between 8.1% and 8%, recalls INSEE, which revised the third quarter unemployment rate downwards by 0.1 point to 8%.

"It is 0.8 points lower than its pre-crisis level (end of 2019) and its lowest level since 2008, if we exclude the one-off 'trompe-l'oeil' drop in spring 2020, linked to the health crisis" when many people had stopped looking for work, underlines INSEE.

A pre-crisis level

Over the quarter, the youth unemployment rate fell sharply (–3.6 points) and reached 15.9%, thus reaching “the lowest levels of the previous cycles at the end of the 80s and 90s”.

It fell by 0.3 points for those aged 25-49, to 6.8%, and remained stable for those aged 50 or over, at 5.8%.

The fall is more marked for women (–0.8 point to 7.3%) than for men (–0.4 point to 7.5%), whereas the difference was in the opposite direction in the previous quarter. 

Regarding the "halo around unemployment", i.e. unemployed people who want one but who do not meet the other ILO criteria to be considered unemployed, it "bounces back slightly", notes INSEE, with 1, 9 million people in this category, up from 48,000.

The long-term unemployment rate fell by 0.2 points to 2.2% of the active population and returned to its pre-crisis level.

About 700,000 unemployed people say they are unemployed and have been looking for one for at least a year. 

The employment rate for 15-64 year olds rose by 0.2 points to 67.8%.

It thus exceeded its all-time high reached in the previous quarter.

The activity rate (i.e. people in employment or unemployed) of 15-64 year olds fell by 0.2 points to 73.3%, after rising by 0.7 points in the previous quarter when it had reached its highest level level since INSEE measured it (1975).