The French economy is recovering faster than expected this year, and growth is on track for a 52-year high, putting the job market on a solid footing heading into an election year, according to the official statistics office on Tuesday.
In its most recent economic forecast, INSEE predicted that the French economy would grow at a rate of 6.7% this year, the highest since 1969 and higher than the 6.25% it had previously predicted.
The eurozone's second largest economy has recovered strongly since coronavirus restrictions were relaxed and a vaccination campaign gained traction in the middle of the year.\
INSEE forecasted quarterly growth of around 0.5% through the middle of next year, following a particularly strong third quarter that exceeded expectations with 3% growth.
INSEE also estimated that 153,000 net new jobs were created in the second half of this year, with another 80,000 expected to be added in the next six months as many businesses struggle to find enough workers to meet customer demand.
According to INSEE, this would help push the unemployment rate down from 7.8% in the fourth quarter to 7.6% by mid-2022, providing President Emmanuel Macron with some good news as he prepares to run for a second term in an April presidential election.
With the exception of a blip during the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020, when job seekers were unable to look for work, the drop would bring unemployment to its lowest level since 2008.
Meanwhile, INSEE forecasted that global inflation, which has risen this year due to an increase in energy prices, would fall only marginally from nearly 3% now to 2.7% by mid-2022.