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France, a series of upbeat figures : 7 days of economics
Each week, the Economic Research Department of BNP Paribas reports on economic news.
- Business climate improves
- Household confidence picks up
- Another decline in the number of jobseekers
French economic indicators released this week are upbeat. The INSEE’s composite business climate index rose another point in May to 102, slightly above its benchmark average of 100. The cyclical environment has moved from uncertain to favourable according to the turnaround indicator. At this level, business confidence is consistent with a quarterly growth rate of about 0.4%. The driving forces behind this improvement are the services and retail trade sectors. The construction index is stable while industry shed 1 point to 104, although this follows on April’s 3 point gain. Household confidence also picked up in May, with an unusually strong increase in the INSEE composite (+4 points to 98), which brings it to the highest level since October 2007. This improvement reflects a significantly less pessimistic assessment of past and future living standards in France, and a sharp decline in unemployment fears. These dwindling fears are backed by the latest statistics from the French Employment Agency for April. For the first time since early 2011, the number of category A jobseekers (those who have not worked for the past month) declined two months in a row. And for the first time since September 2008, this same number of jobseekers is slightly down in year-on-year terms (-0.6%). Although the signs of improvement in France’s economic situation are still mild and fragile, they are nonetheless very real.
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