The unemployment rate almost stable in the second quarter

The unemployment rate was flat in the second quarter. It stood at 7.4% of the working population on average between the end of March and the end of June, INSEE announced on Friday, to concern 2.3 million unemployed people within the meaning of the International Labor Office (ILO, +23,000) . It remains down 0.8 points compared to the end of 2019, that is to say before the Covid crisis.

In detail, the youth unemployment rate increased by 1.3 points, to 17.8%. It remained almost stable for 25-49 year olds (+0.1 point) at 6.7%, and fell for 50 year olds or over to 5.2% (-0.3 point). The other indicators are all more or less treading water. This is the case for the employment rate of 15-64 year olds, at 68%, or the activity rate at 73.5% (+0.1 point) at an all-time high.

As a reminder, the workforce in the private sector increased by 102,000 in the second quarter, according to a still provisional estimate from INSEE which far exceeds the forecast at the end of June. Intuitively, this virtual stability of the indicators over the second quarter is therefore a bit of a surprise. Change in trend or statistical hazard?

“Do not overinterpret”

“It’s a small variation that should not be over-interpreted. The small variations are significant when they accumulate over a long period, a year or more”, moderates the head of the synthesis and economic situation division of the labor market at INSEE, Sylvain Larrieu.

For him there is no doubt: the different sources, employment survey to measure the unemployment rate or administrative data from the DSN for the number of salaried jobs, converge: “The labor market has been very dynamic for two years”, assures- he.

Reform of employment center

To achieve full employment, the objective set by Emmanuel Macron by the end of his five-year term, that is to say an unemployment rate of around 5%, the government is counting on a reform of the operation of Pôle emploi and of all stakeholders in charge of the unemployed or beneficiaries of the RSA. This is the France travail project, of which we only know the outline. A consultation is supposed to start at the start of the school year to define the outlines.

Another reform, of unemployment insurance that one, is on the agenda to ensure that the compensation rules stick to economic cycles: harder in times of growth, more generous in the event of a downturn.

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