The business climate remained stable in December, INSEE said on Thursday. In retail, he even gained 2 points. The macroeconomic impact of social conflicts generally remains moderate.

The 1995 strike had cut GDP for the fourth quarter of that year by 0.2 percentage point.

The strikes in public transport have so far had no impact on the morale of French business leaders. The business climate, calculated each month by INSEE which surveys 10,000 bosses, rose to 106 points in December, a stable level compared to the previous month and above its long-term average. This suggests GDP growth of around 0.2% to 0.3% over the coming quarters. Further proof that the social conflict linked to the pension reform has not yet had much effect on the majority of French companies, in the retail sector, a sector that is in principle the most likely to be affected by the movement. , the business climate gained 2 points this month. Traders are therefore more optimistic than the previous month.

Microeconomic impact

“This type of movement generally has a fairly marked microeconomic impact but a more moderate macroeconomic impact”, according to Julien Pouget, the head of the conjuncture department at INSEE. The 1995 strikes had cut the GDP by 0.2 percentage point of GDP over a quarter. Since then, other social movements in transport have had an impact of around 0.1 point of GDP over a quarter, estimates INSEE. Last year, the movement of “yellow vests” first had an impact on household morale, but it recovered in just three months.

The sectors most affected are transport, commerce and hotels and restaurants. “But there are substitution effects and consumption carryovers from one quarter to another. There are also more diffuse effects, in terms of image and attractiveness, for example on tourism ”, judge the expert from INSEE. But not enough to derail the economy of a country whose quarterly GDP approaches 550 billion euros.

A telework effect

Especially since “The strikes are for the moment not quite comparable to those of 1995. Industrial production does not appear to be affected today whereas it had been affected in 1995 by various blockages”, emphasizes Julien Pouget. And the democratization of high-speed Internet has gone through this, which has allowed the development of teleworking, thus reducing a little the effect of strikes. Not to mention that the whole country is not stuck far from there. Only a few large cities are affected, including Paris.

Be careful, however, because “If the strike lasted so intensely during all the holidays, our GDP forecast for the fourth quarter could be revised downwards”, says Julien Pouget. INSEE forecasts growth of 0.3% over the last three months of the year, a performance qualified as ” robust “.

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