the clouds are gathering for 2024

In his general policy declaration, delivered on January 30 before the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, boasted of the “return of industry” in France, after several decades of deindustrialization, “no offense to the Cassandras”. Could the enthusiasm of the new head of government be dampened in the coming months? The risk is real, if we are to believe the results of the latest study by the research firm Trendeo on employment and investment for 2023, made public on Sunday February 18.

Read the decryption: Article reserved for our subscribers In France, reindustrialization is still fragile, despite a proactive policy

According to this survey, if the overall data still remains positive for 2023, in the dynamics of the years following the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous indicators – such as job creations, factory openings or fundraising , in particular − experiencing significant reductions. All signs that the energy crisis, inflation, rising rates and global geopolitical tensions have begun to weigh on investment, consumption and the accounts of French companies in 2023.

“After a very strong recovery in 2021 and a record level of net job creation in 2022, the French economy is on a downward slope”, summarizes David Cousquer, the founder of Trendeo. To the point that if this slope continues at the rate of recent months, several of these indicators could go negative in 2024. The alert level is therefore not yet red, but already orange.

It must be said that French industries face growing competition from those in the United States, driven by significantly lower energy costs and the colossal investments of President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, intended to support the “green” transition. But also those of Chinese factories, which are undercutting prices in many markets such as offshore wind power.

Four sectors spared

According to the Trendeo census, 81,147 net jobs were created in France in 2023, compared to 36,512 losses. A balance of 44,635 which therefore remains “largely positive”, but the number of jobs generated a drop of more than 40,000 compared to 2022 (121,541). A bad signal, while the unemployment rate has started to rise again in France, with 7.5% of the active population in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to INSEE. Furthermore, factory relocations have increased, but have created fewer jobs than those destroyed by relocations: 1,681 jobs went abroad in 2023 compared to 696 income on national territory.

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