Vacancies increase in first quarter

After seven straight quarters of a steady decline in the number of available jobs, the demand for labour has increased in the first quarter.

In the first three months of this year, the number of job openings rose by 16 percent, or 44,100, of which 33,200 were in the private sector, according to Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån, SCB).

The number of job vacancies increased in the private and public sectors at 21 percent and 5 percent apiece in the first quarter. Within the manufacturing and extraction industries, the number of available jobs increased by 49 percent.

“The number of employees increased mainly in the culture, entertainment and recreation sector, as well as in health care. Gross pay also rose in those industries,” wrote SCB’s Anders Eklund and Maria Nilsson in a press release.

The acute labour shortage in the private sector in terms of vacancies amounted to 11,000 positions, an 18 percent rise from 2009.

However, the number of those employed fell by 1.5 percent to 3.94 million people. During this period, the manufacturing sector lost 53,200 jobs. The number of employees working in manufacturing decreased by 8.9 percent from the same quarter last year.

“The decline in the manufacturing sector remained strong, but the rate of decline has slowed,” wrote Eklund and Nilsson. “At the same time, the number of vacancies has increased, even in the manufacturing sector.”

Gross pay grew by 0.6 percent, with a 1.3 percent increase in the public sector and 0.4 percent in the private sector, according to SCB. The number of those employed in the private sector decreased by 1 percent and in the public sector by 2.6 percent.

The public sector workforce shrank by 2.6 percent in the first quarter compared with 2009. The number of employees fell within municipalities and counties, but increased in the federal sector.

The largest decrease occurred in the municipal sector, where the decrease amounted to 4 percent. In counties, the decline was 2.4 percent, while the number of federal employees rose by 2.7 percent. In the public sector, gross pay increased by 1.3 percent, with all subsectors increasing.

Gross pay fell by 4.8 percent in the first quarter in the manufacturing industries. The decline was noticeable in most sectors. Gross pay and the number of employees fell the most in the transport, machinery and steel and metal industries.

In the private sector, the number of employees fell by 1 percent in the first quarter. Gross pay grew by 0.4 percent. The number of employees in service industries grew by 1.6 percent in the first quarter compared with 2009.

The employment concept of “employees” does not include self-employed people or assisting family members. However, these may be included in the concept of employed in other employment statistics, according to SCB.

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Unemployment in France falls slightly despite the lockdown

Unemployment in France has fallen slightly, despite the ongoing ravages of the health crisis and consequent lockdown, latest statistics show.

Unemployment in France falls slightly despite the lockdown
Photo: Stephane du Sakatin/AFP

The number of unemployed job seekers in mainland France fell by 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2021, according to figures published by the French Ministry of Labour on Tuesday.

There were 3,560,600 unemployed registered at the Pôle Emploi (unemployment office), 12,200 fewer than during the last three months of 2020.

This follows a 2.7 percent fall in the final three months of 2020 – but the rate is still up 6.8 percent compared with the first three months of 2020, before Europe began to feel the economic impact of the Covid pandemic.

Currently all ‘non essential’ shops in France have been closed since April 3rd, while bars, restaurants, cafés, gyms, cinemas, theatres, museums and tourist sites have been closed since October 2020.

Despite the fall the total number of job seekers, the number of people who were in work but with reduced hours was up by 0.8 percent at the start of 2021, to 2,156,300.

That means that in total 5,716,900 people in mainland France were registered with Pôle emploi during this period, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with a year ago.

“Over the course of 2020, in one year, unemployment rose by 8 percent. This is obviously a lot, but we must remember that during the crisis of 2008-2009, unemployment leapt by 25 percent, so we can see that the government assistance is working,” Minister of Labour Élisabeth Borne told BFMTV on Tuesday.

The French government has put together a huge package of economic aid to try and mitigate the effects of the repeated lockdowns, from chômage partiel (furlough) schemes for employees to aid packages for business owners and the self-employed. But many small retailers have been hit hard by the three periods of closure for non-essential shops, while the tourist, leisure and hospitality sectors have also had a devastating year.

The economic downturn linked to the pandemic has disproportionately affected young people in France.  Across all categories of job seekers (unemployed and with reduced hours), the latest figures show a rise of 7.1 percent in a year for those under 25, compared to 4.5 percent for the 25-29 age range, and 4.8 percent for those aged 50 and over.

Men are also more likely to have signed up to Pôle emploi, with a 6.1 percent increase on last year, compared to a 3.8 percent increase among women.