According to the report from INSEE, at the end of the first quarter of 2020, payroll employment dropped by 2.0%, that is 502,400 net job losses in one quarter. Economists had expected a 2.3% decrease. Payroll employment returned to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2017. The decline affects almost exclusively the private sector with 497,400 net job losses (that is –2.5%) while the public service loses 4,900 jobs (that is –0,1%). Over a year, payroll employment dropped by 304,700 (–1,2%). It declined by 317,200 in the private sector but increased by 12,400 in the public service.
Temporary employment accounted for the largest share of the fall in the first quarter: –40.4%, that is –318,100 jobs. Excluding temporary work, payroll employment decreased by 0.7% (–184,300 jobs).
In the so-called «non-agricultural market» field (industry, construction and market services), payroll employment has been measured in quarterly time series since the end of 1970. In the first quarter of 2020, it fell by 2.8% (–485,400 jobs): this is the largest drop ever recorded in the series. In particular, the decline was much more pronounced than in the fourth quarter of 2008 (–0.8%) and in the first quarter of 2009 (–0.9%).
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