HRDs were not idle in the second quarter. The private sector added 102,500 net jobs between the end of March and the end of June 2022, according to INSEE’s preliminary estimate released on Friday. This is better than the small increase in the first quarter of 2022 with 69,500 more jobs.
A figure that surprises and questions the experts in a delicate economic context. “We were expecting a slight slowdown,” says Sylvain Larrieu, head of the Synthesis and Conjunctures department of INSEE’s labor market department. “How do you create so many jobs with so little growth? asks Mathieu Plane, economist at the French Observatory for Economic Conditions (OFCE). He sees a “decoupling between the macroeconomic environment and the dynamics of the labor market”.
Job boom in the hotel and catering industry
At the end of 2019, private employment exceeded its pre-crisis level with 754,200 more jobs (+3.8%). One reason for this despite rising energy costs, rising interest rates on loans and the shortage of certain raw materials? Sylvain Larrieu leads the mass return of foreign tourists to France during the school holidays. “Employment in the hotel and catering industry explains a good part of the increase”.
The commercial tertiary sector thus recorded an increase in additional jobs of 0.8% (+97,300 jobs), after an increase of 77,300 jobs in the first quarter (+0.6%). “These dynamics explain most of the overall increase in private employees,” notes INSEE.
Two possible scenarios
Another reason given by Mathieu Plane: “Companies keep jobs through hiring subsidies and try to recapture profits elsewhere”. Two options are emerging for the future: “strong growth accompanied by a return to productivity gains, or growth that remains sluggish and accompanied by job losses,” says Mathieu Plane.
In detail, temporary work, the compass of employment, continues its decline that began in the first quarter of 2022. While it rose sharply at the end of the lockdown in spring 2020, it fell by 2.1% in the second quarter of 2022. (-17,400). “At the end of 2021, temporary workers were often used to replace absent employees,” notes Sylvain Larrieu.
With the exception of temporary work, all other sectors stabilized. Industrial employment increased slightly (+0.1%) with the creation of 3,100 jobs. The construction industry is stable with the same private employment at the beginning of 2022. Private employment in the non-employed tertiary sector finally increased more significantly by 0.7% (+19,500 jobs).