How containment has plunged the economy

Forecasts predicted the devastating effect of the Covid-19 epidemic and containment on the economy. The disaster is confirmed with the publication, Thursday, April 30 by INSEE, of the first estimates of growth in the first quarter.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: the latest news in France and worldwide

Over the first three months of 2020, GDP fell 5.8%. A historic shock that will continue and even increase because these first statistics only record the effect of the first two weeks of the containment started in mid-March.

► Record decline since 1949

In memory of INSEE statisticians, the brutality of the recession is unprecedented. No precedent has existed for such a quarterly decline since INSEE published these quarterly statistics, in 1949.

Economy, is the worst really safe?

With a collapse of 5.8%, the first quarter of 2020 was therefore much worse than the first quarter of 2009, the start of the last major crisis, where the decline had reached “only” 1.6%. The only possible comparison is rather to look for May 68. The massive strikes and the student revolt had then led to a fall in GDP of 5.3% in the third quarter, followed by a fairly rapid rebound during the end of the ‘year.

► Second quarter figures will be worse

Historical, the 5.8% drop in GDP in the past quarter only takes into account 11 working days of confinement. According to various estimates, from INSEE or other economic research institutes, a month of confinement effectively puts a good third of the economy down.

The figures for the next quarter will therefore be much worse since this time they will reflect the effects of six weeks of sleep for a large part of the economy followed by a recovery which can only be very gradual.

For Denis Ferrand, Director General of the Rexecode Institute, a quick calculation “On a corner of the table” now allows to estimate the disaster to come: “If the strict containment lasts until May 11 and if its economic impact is halved until the end of the quarter”, then the decline in GDP could reach “20.1% in the second quarter”.

Under these conditions, we would have to hope for a strong rebound over the last two quarters in order to succeed in limiting losses over the whole of 2020. In these latest forecasts, the government expects a drop in GDP of 8% at the end of the year.

► Power consumption down

Figures from the first quarter of INSEE show that household consumption, the main engine of growth in France, has stifled with the introduction of containment. In March, only food pulled out of the game a little. Driven by precautionary purchases at the start of confinement, food expenditure rose 7.8%.

→ EXPLANATION.Coronavirus: why INSEE is interested in credit card transactions

For all the rest, it’s Bérézina. Purchases of durable goods, automobiles or furniture, fell by 48%. Clothing more than 50%. All in all, this works out according to INSEE “An unprecedented drop in household consumption” more than 6% for the entire quarter.

► Investment at half mast

The plunge is just as marked on the corporate side. They see their investments fall by 11% over the quarter. The fall is particularly severe in construction (−13.8%), penalized by “The stoppage of worksites during the second half of March”.

→ INVESTIGATION. In companies, the need for a negotiated takeover

These first statistics since containment also illustrate the brake on world trade. In the first quarter, French exports as well as imports fell by around 6%.


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.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: information in France and worldwide

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.


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.


MPs want to exempt family caregivers who are victims of coronavirus from inheritance tax

What recognition for the families of deceased caregivers of the coronavirus? This is the question that the member for the Republicans of Haute-Savoie, Virginie Duby-Muller, wants to answer. On April 7, it tabled a bill to “Exempt from inheritance tax the heirs of any person, member of the nursing staff, who died as a result of an illness contracted or aggravated on the occasion of his direct engagement against the epidemic of covid ‑ 19”.

A proposal that addresses “To caregivers, doctors in hospitals but also in medico-social establishments such as nursing homes”, says Virginie Duby-Muller at Le Figaro. On April 10, fifteen of them died, including seven doctors. A figure brought to nine, since. “I believe it is important that the nation expresses its interest, its recognition and does not leave in difficulty the families of people who died in the service of the nation”, abounds Philippe Gosselin, LR deputy of the 1st district of La Manche, signatory of the bill.

This intends to expand “Article 796 of the General Tax Code which provides that certain dead for France see their heirs exempt from inheritance tax”, like, for example, “War victims and soldiers who died while participating in external or internal operations”, “Victims of acts of terrorism” or even the fire brigade, police, gendarmes and customs agents.

Recognize the nation’s ward status and “died for France”

The member’s proposal is not the only one that would recognize these “Hero of the nation”, as the deputy who uses the expression of the President of the Republic calls them. Others have been formulated, notably by Philippe Gosselin. One proposes to recognize the children of these caregivers the status of ward of the nation. “It is a protective status which also ensures certain economic and educational elements for these young people”, he says. The second wishing “Recognize the status of ‘death in the service of the nation’ for all those personnel who died as a direct result of their fight against the Covid or of a disease which they could have contacted or which could have worsened because of the Covid”, he explains.

A proposal similar to the measure adopted in 2012 recognizing the status of “death for the service of the nation” to soldiers and public officials “killed because of their functions or their quality”. It was taken after the death of three young paratroopers killed in March 2012 by Mohamed Merah in Montauban and Toulouse.

As in 2012, LR deputies therefore wish to broaden the definition of those who died for or in the service of France to caregivers fighting against the epidemic. And for Philippe Gosselin, we must even go further and widen the beneficiaries of these legislative proposals to “All personnel who died as a result of their engagement”. According to him, this provision could also concern security guards working in hospitals, staff working for private disinfection companies, but also cashiers. “It deserves that we ask the question”, he concludes.


Why a layoff tsunami is inevitable

DECRYPTION – The purge that is preparing will be of unprecedented violence. The layoffs will run into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

The question now is what the government will do with this expected and inevitable surge of social plans.
The question now is what the government will do with this expected and inevitable surge of social plans. Pool / ABACA / Pool / ABACA

In response to his previous speeches, Édouard Philippe was once again very clear during his press conference last Sunday: the economic crisis, of unequaled brutality, “Just started”. The Prime Minister did not fail to recall that his objective, through all of the support measures deployed, “Is to safeguard what can be today to allow tomorrow to revive what should be”. The head of government is indeed aware of the magnitude of the shock, particularly in terms of job cuts, which is looming. And he knows, as one of his predecessors said in 1999, Lionel Jospin, when the Renault Vilvoorde plant was closed, that “The state cannot do everything”

And even less today! Because if the partial unemployment scheme makes it possible to pass the course of the crisis, by suspending employment contracts, it does not in any way guarantee their sustainability in the end of confinement and resumption of activity. Of course, the state will not retreat

This article is for subscribers only. You have 70% left at

Subscribe: € 1 the first month

cancellable at any time


a director of Ehpad tells of the return of visits

During their press conference, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Minister of Health Olivier Véran announced the establishment of a “visitation rights», Under certain conditions, as of today, in nursing homes. Visits had been prohibited there since March 11. An announcement very positively received by Clarisse Reydant Coupey, director of the Ehpad la Pommeraie, in Périgny, in Charente-Maritime, which has 70 residents.

LE FIGARO. – What was your reaction to this announcement?

Clarisse Reydant Coupey. – I told myself that I had a hollow nose. I am fortunate to have a very mobilized team and we are almost always a week ahead of government recommendations. So our space for discussion between families and residents, which we called “chatWas ready since Friday evening. I was only waiting for the prefect’s approval so that the families would not be put in difficulty for journeys that are not necessarily considered imperative, but the government has outstripped it.

This is very good news for all of us. From 10 a.m. on Monday, I contacted all the families who had already started to call to find out how it was going to happen and this afternoon, we were able to receive families.

What measures have you put in place to ensure that the visits are made in a secure manner?

We installed the space “chatIn a corner of the meeting room with a window. On this window, we put a piece of Plexiglas, then positioned a tent on the garden side, with chairs, hydroalcoholic gel and a small table. Families and residents are not in the same room, but they see each other. We respect all the instructions, we avoid crossing and leave the families outside. This Monday evening, we have already had five visits and the calendar is full until Wednesday noon to receive up to 11 families per day.

»See also – Coronavirus: Olivier Véran announces visitation rights in nursing homes

What were the reactions of the inhabitants of the establishment?

Tears. Almost systematically, residents and families were in tears. A lot of emotion but also anger, sometimes, because it is still a closed space and still an attack on their freedom to come and go. But it quickly calms down and the exchanges are made with great pleasure. We are careful to leave their total privacy. This Monday evening, we added an audio system, with a microphone outside and a small speaker inside, because the elderly suffer from all significant hearing impairment. All of this requires almost a full-time person, but we will do with it, the team is very mobilized and invested in protecting residents. Since February 28, week by week, we learn, we organize, reorganize, we communicate and then recommend, etc. The teams are fabulous.


Majority reflects on post-crisis working conditions

Could coronavirus change the way we work in the long term? This is, in essence, what a working group of La République en Marche is trying to reflect on, which is examining the question of the evolution of post-crisis working conditions. Because after more than a month of confinement, the professional habits of the employees have clearly changed. And faced with this unprecedented situation, the majority considers it appropriate to draw consequences from it. “ This will change the relationship with teleworking and it requires the time we spend in transport, “reunion”“, Sketched in this sense the Minister of Labor, Muriel Pénicaud, Monday on RTL.

For “ reinvent work », The working group has defined four main areas to study in order to develop French practices as well as legislation. The first track, quite broad, deals with the organization of work during and after the crisis. “ It is a question here of reflecting on the ways of allowing the return to work at the workplace while making the safety and health of the employees an essential criterion. “La République en Marche said in a press release. The solution could be, when possible, to increase the practice of telework which “ could become sustainable

It remains to find the perfect balance between face-to-face and distance. Because according to an OpinionWay survey, published for Empreinte Humaine, a firm specializing in the prevention of psychosocial risks and the quality of life at work, teleworking and prolonged isolation can have psychological effects. According to this study, if telework is not a risk factor in itself, the conditions in which it is exercised may be. Result: professional motivation can tend to deteriorate over the weeks for 24% of employees.

Beyond telework, the think tank sees fit to reflect on workers’ rights and improve social protection. “ The crisis has brought to light the need for new protections for people whose status does not give them access to the systems implemented by the public authorities, such as partial activity or unemployment insurance. », They explain. Indeed, and like the self-employed, many French workers have not been able to benefit from the same social protection benefits depending on their status. The challenge will therefore be to build social protection “ independent of the statutes

An axis of study is also devoted to taking into account the social utility of certain trades, namely cashiers, carers, garbage collectors and other professions today in first or second line. According to the majority, the latter suffer from low valuation, both salary and symbolic. “ It is a question of reflecting as well on the gratifications to be brought to them at the end of the crisis as on the wage dynamics of these trades in the long term, while defining the methods of a better social recognition of these professions. “, Judges the working group. Finally, the fourth axis deals with post-crisis reconstruction and the measures that can be taken to facilitate labor market mobility.


Laurent Berger: “We need resumption of activity protocols at all levels”

INTERVIEW – Laurent Berger has been secretary general of the CFDT since the fall of 2012. His reformist central has held the top spot on the union chessboard in France for three years. .

Covid-19 recognized as an occupational disease? The debate has begun

In addition to asbestos-related cancers, lead poisoning or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), will Covid-19 be recognized as an occupational disease? The debate is launched, while we do not yet know much about this virus and its consequences.

After the Minister of Health, Olivier Veran, who mentioned it for caregivers, Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior, wants it to be recognized as an occupational disease for ministry staff. The Academy of Medicine is in favor of this recognition not only benefiting health personnel but also those working for “the essential functioning of the countryIn the food, transport and security sectors.

Several unions have also asked for it since the start of the crisis for employees and public officials. The CFDT recommends that “all face-to-face work situations may, in the event of health damage due to Covid-19, be automatically imputable on a professional basis” She advocates for the creation of a “funds»Dedicated to taking care of people affected.

In the meantime, the unions advise employees who have contracted the virus at work or on the way to get there to declare it an accident at work.

What is an occupational disease?

The National Research and Safety Institute for the Prevention of Accidents at Work and Occupational Diseases (INRS) recalls that an illness is considered “As professional if it is the direct consequence of the more or less prolonged exposure of a worker to a physical, chemical or biological risk, or results from the conditions in which he exercises his professional activity”.

The concept dates back to a law of 1919 recognizing lead poisoning, and recently the debate on the recognition of burn out as an occupational disease had been revived, without success.

A list of recognized diseases is established in tables annexed to the social security code and the rural code. If the employee enters the criteria (with durations of exposure to risk), he does not need to prove the link between his pathology and his work. If all the criteria are not met, you have to provide proof of the link between your work and the disease and it is therefore much more complicated.

Coverage of medical expenses

Bringing a new occupational disease into these famous tables requires a decree, taken after discussion in the Council for Orientation of Working Conditions (Coct), where unions and employers also sit. “It can go very quickly if the government wants to go quickly but it can also get bogged down”, explains Jérome Vivenza (CGT), member of Coct. Some unions want to put this issue on the Coct’s agenda quickly, he told AFP. A meeting will be held on April 24.

Recognition of an occupational disease allows 100% coverage of medical expenses but also allows you to receive compensation in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity. In the event of death, the beneficiaries may also receive an annuity.

All of this is financed by the so-called ATMP (occupational accident and occupational disease) branch of Social Security, financed by contributions from companies, the rate of which varies according to the loss experience.

It is difficult for the moment, while the knowledge of this virus is fragmentary, to identify the after-effects, in particular for those affected by a severe form of Covid-19 having resulted in several days in intensive care. Respiratory sequelae? Neurological and cognitive consequences? Doctors sketch tracks, groping.

See also – Dr. Mascret answers: my symptoms persist beyond 14 days, is this normal?


Employees on work stoppage for childcare will be placed on partial unemployment in early May

The announcement was eagerly awaited by employees on sick leave for childcare or high vulnerability to the coronavirus. Indeed, the government announced this Friday, April 17 that these 2.1 million French people could go into short-time working as of the beginning of May and receive 84% of their net earnings, or about 70% of gross salary. Until the end of April and with retroactive effect from March 12, their remuneration will be 90% of gross salary, of which 40% paid by the employer and the rest by Social Security. Employees on minimum wage will keep 100% of their salary.

Before this decree published this Friday, April 17, the compensation of employees on sick leave in office for one to five years was 90% of gross salary but fell to 66% after thirty days of sick leave, which was to happen after a months of confinement. For those who had been in office for less than a year, employers were not required to supplement the 50% share of gross wages paid by Social Security.

Retroactivity until March 12

The decree concerns “work stoppages for childcare or work stoppages issued to vulnerable persons at increased risk of developing serious forms of the disease as well as to persons living with these vulnerable persons” The level of remuneration of these employees will be guaranteed for all “up to 90% of their salary, whatever their seniorityUntil April 30, and the provision is retroactive until March 12.

From May 1, specifies the decree, “ employees on sick leave for these reasons will be placed in partial activity and will receive compensation up to 70% of gross salary, or around 84% of net salary. These amounts will be raised to 100% of the salary for employees paid at minimum wage ” Concretely, employees will therefore see their remuneration drop from 90% to 70% of their gross salary if their company does not supplement the compensation received for partial unemployment. Without this device, these same employees would have gone to 66% of the gross after one month.

Sick leave for people who have between one and five years of seniority decrease after 30 days, they go from 90% to 66% of gross salary, we confirm on the side of the Ministry of Labor. Same after 40 days for people with 5 to 10 years of service, and 50 days for employees with more than 10 years of service. Since April 16, part of the 1.7 million employees who were in daily allowance for childcare or 400,000 in daily allowance for vulnerable persons therefore went from 90% to 66% of net salary, and lost 24% their remuneration. It was not possible to let that happen.

See also – Covid-19, a lawyer replies: who decides to end partial unemployment?

Two-step device

To avoid putting too much weight on businesses, the government therefore had the idea of ​​a two-step system. ” Initially, from April 16 to 30, companies are asked to maintain the 90% gross salary, regardless of seniority. It is an effort that we ask businesses for 15 days. And then, from May 1, we switch to a partial activity regime, at least for 11 days because normally schools are supposed to reopen, but perhaps longer depending on the case.

For the ministry, this system makes it possible to respect two principles: not to lose purchasing power or very little for employees, and not to be threatened with bankruptcy for companies because of a burden that they are asked to bear when they have no revenue ” On the operational side, it is up to the company to make a request on the platform dedicated to partial unemployment. It will then pay wages and be reimbursed by the State.