In the spring, would job offers be budding?

One can ask the question in view of the good figures published by Insee, which sees the unemployment rate down slightly by 0.1 point, despite zero growth in the first quarter of 2022. The number of unemployed as defined by the International Bureau of work (BIT) amounted to 2.2 million, or 18,000 less over the quarter.

This rate, which had fallen sharply in the last quarter (-0.6 points), is now at its lowest level since the start of 2008.

“The decline of the previous quarter is confirmed, it was not accidental.

The unemployment rate is stabilizing at a lower level than before the crisis (-0.9 points compared to the end of 2019)”, comments Sylvain Larrieu, head of the Syntheses and conjunctures of the labor market division of INSEE.

Over this quarter, “the unemployment figures are consistent with those of employment: net job creations (+66,000 net) are slowing down compared to the end of 2021 but continue to progress, we have an increase in employment rates and activity,” he adds.

Youth employment is on the rise

At the same time, the employment rate for 15-64 year olds increased by 0.2 points and exceeded, at 68%, its highest historical level.

Thanks to the end of the crisis, people have returned to the labor market, as evidenced by the slight drop over one year of 0.4 points “in the halo around unemployment”.

These people, who wish to work but are not considered as unemployed within the meaning of the ILO because they are not actually looking for a job or are not available to take one immediately, are still 1.8 million however.

The dynamism of employment primarily concerns 15-24 year olds: their employment rate rose by 0.7 points over a quarter and by 4.8 over a year, to 34.6%, its highest level. since 1991. "It's a lasting increase whose main factor is the progression of learning", according to Sylvain Larrieu, encouraged by government aid for hiring.

The employment rate is not progressing on the other hand for seniors, at 56.1% of 55-64 year olds, stable for a year, while its level is one of the challenges of the future pension reform wanted by Emmanuel Macron.

“We need more jobs to do the same thing”

For Mathieu Plane, deputy director of the analysis and forecasting department of the OFCE, “if the unemployment and employment figures are quite consistent, the surprise comes from the strength of job creations in relation to activity”.

“We are creating 66,000 additional jobs with zero growth this quarter.

The economic horizon is darkening, but not hiring, “says the economist.

“We have 2% more jobs than before the crisis but only 1% more GDP.

We need more jobs to do the same thing, ”he summarizes, citing the examples of construction and catering.

According to him, this can be explained in particular by the fact that “companies, faced with difficulties in finding qualified labor and constraints in the organization of work, prefer to keep their workforce” when the clouds are rising.

But “this loss of productivity, if it is good in the short term for the labor market, is not sustainable in the medium term.

It would be a loss of efficiency and growth,” he says.


The unemployment rate at its lowest level since 2008 in the 1st quarter


Slowdown in job creations in the private sector, with 66,100 net creations (+0.3%) in the 1st quarter

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