Confinement puts the French economy “in a state of anesthesia”

France is “Like an organism placed in a state of anesthesia” who “Only performs its vital functions”. In its last note published on April 23, INSEE confirms that the French economy is largely at a standstill, after five weeks of confinement.

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The organization estimates that the general level of activity in France has been cut by a third since mid-March. In the market sector (the one that produces goods and services that are sold), the drop in activity is even half, with some differences according to the branches.

Hotels and restaurants are logically among the most affected with a fall of 91%; automotive construction is down 72%; 80% refining; 55% trade. Compared to the last INSEE note, at the end of March, the situation is improving slightly in industry (- 39% instead of – 43%) and in construction (- 79% instead of – 88% ).

Some restaurants reopen for take-out

“Right now, a lot of companies are not even allowed to work,” regrets Alain Griset, president of the U2P, the Union of local businesses, who cites aesthetics and hairstyle … They want to reopen. But even for those who are licensed, activity is low. On average, we are barely 50% and in the building, not even 20% ”.

The construction sector itself is very diverse. “The building ranges from the craftsman alone to large public order sites. Small businesses are more agile and many of them have maintained their activity, which was not possible on larger sites. “, observes Vincent Frayssinet, director general of the French Building Federation for the Ile-de-France East.

As for the restaurants, some of those that were closed have been tentatively trying to open their doors for the past few days. Not for terrace service; only so customers or couriers can wait for takeout. ” Some establishments have gone on take-out for the past few days, admits an employer manager in the sector. But it is a very marginal and essentially urban phenomenon. “

Public services work

On the other hand, certain branches are still little affected by confinement. This is the case of finance, which is at its usual level of activity, or of food production, which only drops by 5%. In agriculture, the decline is 13%. The drop also remains limited in services “Non-merchants”, reflecting the fact that most public services, from health to police to education, continue to operate.

This calculation is based on an analysis of the value produced. INSEE also compared these figures with data on the conditions of employment of employees collected from companies with 10 or more employees and figures on partial unemployment. Today, nearly one in two private sector employees, or ten million people, are affected by partial unemployment measures. This device was requested by 820,000 companies, more than 6 out of 10.

In private companies with more than 10 employees, we observe a distribution in four equal parts: a quarter of the employees goes to work, a quarter is in telework, a quarter in partial unemployment and a quarter in sick leave or paid holidays.

No sign of massive short-time fraud

The situation is of course very different depending on the sectors and the size of the companies. “Today, out of the 77,000 employees of Engie in France, 32% are teleworking, 18% are on site, 31% on miscellaneous leave and 19% on partial unemployment “, Says Pierre Deheunynck, the group’s human resources director. For staff placed on partial unemployment, the group has committed to ” maintenance of purchasing power By encouraging its employees to take time off and RTT.

INSEE tried to verify that the data on activity, on conditions of employment and on partial unemployment do not present a contradiction. The organization concludes that they “Are consistent with the assumption of an economy turning at around two thirds of its capacity, all sectors included, with a more marked fall for the merchant sector”. This tends to show that there is no massive partial unemployment fraud, despite some testimony that has shown that companies here and there may have taken advantage of the windfall.

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The eurozone at a standstill

Private sector activity in the euro area collapsed in April at an “unprecedented” rate, as a result of measures taken to halt the spread of the coronavirus, according to the first estimate, Thursday, April 23, Markit firm composite index.
The monthly index is 13.5 points, compared to 29.7 points in March, which constitutes “By far the largest contraction in overall activity recorded in more than twenty years of surveys.” “In comparison, the index fell to 36.2 in February 2009, the height of the global financial crisis,” emphasizes the cabinet.

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