June 8, 2023


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Defective assertions of Emmanuel Macron during French work

As the years go by, Emmanuel Macron reiterates his critique of the productivity of the French. In 2019, the former Minister of Economy Already confirmed in the most selective manner That “France works on average less than its neighbors.” Co-Rexcode, an economic research firm closest to the employer, is based on a classification based on figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Two years later, during the presentation of France’s 2030 investment plan on Tuesday, October 12, the President Reiterated his views :

“When we compare ourselves to a country where we work less than others, this is really the case. (…) We must have a country that produces more. “

The next day, at the end Council of MinistersGovernment spokesman Gabriel Attal described the report: The President of the Republic recalled the fact: the French work on average less than the others [habitants des] This is what the OECD countries and OECD figures say [qui regroupe 38 pays, essentiellement occidentaux et industrialisés]. In 2020, the French worked almost three hundred hours less than the OECD average. If we start with seven hours of work days, it is less than a month of work. If you look at the weekly working hours of those who have a job, the French work two and a half hours less per week than the average of the OECD countries. ” This explanation pulls the available indicators in the right direction for the state.

It is questionable why

  • Incorrect weekly statistics

First, it may come as a surprise to take 2020 in particular, when the Govt-19 epidemic has had a definite impact on the manufacturing and labor markets in most countries.

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In addition, Gabriel Atoll confirms the French “Work two and a half hours less per week than the OECD countries average”. However this is false. With an average of 36.5 hours of weekly work in 2020 according to the OECD, the average of the 38 member states of the International Organization of France (37 hours) is less than two hours and thirty minutes. France certainly lags behind Colombia (47.6 hours), but is ahead of many rich countries such as Switzerland (34.6 hours) or the Netherlands (29.5 hours).

  • Real but biased annual deficit

Emmanuel Macron and Gabriel Atoll are true year-on-year, with the French working an average of 1,402 hours a year, 1,687 hours for the OECD countries, and even 2,124 hours for Mexico, according to 2020 figures.

But this indicator has many dependencies. In the beginning, it mixes full-time and part-time work. The latter mechanically lower the average, especially in Germany, where they are widespread, especially among women: the country is last in this ranking. Therefore, as Gabriel Atoll points out, it is impossible to make calculations “Seven Hours of Working Days” When half is taken into account.

Taking into account the large number of seasonal workers in tourist countries such as France contributes in the same way to reducing the average annual working hours. Finally, these comparisons take into account the number of non-working days (paid leave and public holidays), which vary from one country to another. With 35 days “off”, France has one of the highest number of workers, which reduces the annual hourly average.

  • One of the best hourly productivity in Europe

Want to see if Emmanuel Macron’s glass is half empty? Other indicators, such as labor productivity and working hours per person, are in France’s favor, eliminating the distinction between full-time and part-time. The country is ranked seventh by 2019 and fifth by 2020, according to European Union data. Although Ireland is at the forefront, France performs better than Germany in this area.

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This hourly productivity is also recognized abroad. As pointed out British Liberal Weekly Magazine Economist In 2015: “The French may be on holiday on Friday. They will produce more than the British in a week.”

Be careful, however, that the French, individually, do not mean “workers” more than others, but generally there is more productivity. It depends on many factors, Indicates OECD Individual skills, but also production strategies, work organization, technological development, performance and scale economies.

  • Behind the average job, the question of employment

This question is more complicated than a simple annual average. Also, to Antoine Gajard, an economist at the OECD, a The issue of working hours in France, The main problem is not the weekly or annual hourly volume, but the number of years worked, says Emmanuel Macron when talking about the amount of work “In the cycle of life”. However, these years depend less on the working hours of the labor market and the legal working hours than on the ability to integrate juniors and seniors.

However, Mr. According to Couzard, the employment rate at the end of the study is lower than the average for European countries, and is rapidly declining from the age of 54, which is an effective retirement age. The labor market is the second lowest of all OECD countries for men. There is no extension of working hours Weekly Postponing retirement age will not solve their low employment problem.