PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP
The fall in unemployment explained in four graphs (Illustration photo: in a Pôle Emploi agency in Bordeaux, in February 2022).
WORK – The archive has circulated widely among opponents of pension reform. We are in April 2019 and Emmanuel Macron takes stock of the Great National Debate he launched after the yellow vests crisis. From the Élysée, the President of the Republic is already talking about legal age.
“When you are in difficulty yourself, when you have a fractured career, good luck already to reach 62 years old. This is the reality of our country. We will tell you “we now have to go to 64 years old”. You already don’t know what to do after 55, people tell you “jobs are better for you”. That’s the reality, that’s the fight we’re leading, we must first win this fight before going to explain to people “my good friends, work longer!”. It’s the legal deadline, it would be hypocritical, ” explains the Head of State.
A few seconds earlier, he had spoken another sentence. “As long as we have not solved the problem of unemployment in our country, frankly it would be quite hypocritical to shift the legal age”, he said.
At the time, the number of people registered with Pôle Emploi was 6,570,100. For the majority, the situation has now improved enough that it is possible – without denying the presidential word – to shift the legal age.
This is confirmed by the data published this Wednesday, January 25 by the Ministry of Labour. As you can see from the graph below, the number of people without any activity (we are talking about category A at Pôle emploi) fell by 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to reach 3.05 million. This is the lowest level since 2011. Over one year, the drop is 9.3%, or 312,100 fewer people.
This clear improvement on the employment front must however be (a little) nuanced if we look at all the data from Pôle emploi. The fall is in fact less marked (-5.1%) if we include people in partial activity (categories B and C of Pôle emploi). These categories saw an increase of approximately 20,000 people. Consequently, we are still far from the level of ten years ago.
We can also note a difference with regard to the age of job seekers. For several years, successive governments have emphasized the arrival of young people on the job market. As a result, despite a slight upturn in 2022, there have never been so few under 25 looking for a job. Converselyand this is bad news for the government to defend its pension reform, the effort has not yet been made in terms of senior employment. While the number of over 50s registered in category A has decreased significantly since the Covid crisis, it remains very far from its 2012 level.
Last notable point, the situation is not uniform on French territory. As shown map region by region, weaker declines were recorded over one year in Île-de-France, Brittany and Paca than in Normandy or Pays de la Loire. Guyana is the only region where the situation has not improved in 2022.
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