March 26, 2023

With a surprisingly dynamic fourth quarter, the number of job seekers fell by 9.3% in one year.

Once again, the labor market thwarts the darkest forecasts. While the economic situation, with galloping inflation and stunted growth, foreshadowed a reversal of the situation with an increase in unemployment at the end of 2022, this is ultimately not the case. Between October and December 2022, the number of jobseekers registered in category A of Pôle emploi (all of France excluding Mayotte) fell by 3.6%, or 114,400 fewer unemployed people over the period, according to figures published on Wednesday by the Ministry of Labour.

After a marked slowdown between July and September, with a decline of only 0.1%, or 1,700 people, experts and economic institutes were logically expecting a first increase in unemployment after almost two years of constant decline. But once again, the strength of employment will have withstood the vagaries of the economic situation.

If the main category of Sector decreased sharply, categories B and C – which count people in reduced activity, that is to say who work more or less than 78 hours per month – have, on the other hand, increased by significantly, i.e. 39,200 and 34,400 people respectively. This means that, for the most part, job seekers with no activity switched to these categories in the fourth quarter by finding reduced activity.

This game ofcommunicating vessels“is partly explained, according to Pôle emploi, by an improvement in the procedure for updating jobseekers at the end of the month during 2022. This technical development “ has a lasting downward impact “in category A in return for a slight increase in exits from the lists and a permanent increase in categories B and C, explains Pôle emploi. Despite this new situation, the three main categories of Pôle emploi combined still recorded a decline of 0.8%, or 40,900 fewer people.

If this dynamic at the end of the year appears surprising, it nevertheless reflects the very good performance of employment in 2022. Over one year, the number of job seekers has indeed fallen by 9.3% to settle to 3,049,800 million people. A sharp drop which remains in line with what the labor market experienced in 2021. As a direct result, the number of job seekers is now at its lowest level since the third quarter of 2011. This is enough to comfort the government in its desire to aim for full employment at the end of the five-year term.

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