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2019 OECD Economic Surveys: France 2019

image of OECD Economic Surveys: France 2019

France's economic growth has slowed down after a gradual recovery. Limited productivity and employment gains have reduced the growth of GDP per inhabitant; public spending remains very high. Reducing public expenditures is needed to put debt on a firmly declining path. This and streamlining the tax system would also help reducing taxes, which would boost economic activity eventually. Continuing to foster a more flexible labour market would lead to higher productivity growth and living standards. The unemployment rate is particularily high for low-skills, and young and older workers: higher skills and better education outcomes would support a more inclusive labour market and intergenerational mobility. The quality of the public capital stock is high in France: improving its maintainance would strengthen this asset. New investment should help drive the economy towards greener growth – in particular investments in energy and transport – and more digitalisation. This should be achieved by applying rigourous cost-benefit analyses even more widely.

SPECIAL FEATURES: LABOUR MARKET PERFORMANCE; PUBLIC INVESTMENT

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Executive summary

Economic growth has slowed down after a gradual recovery. Global economic conditions, monetary policy and structural reforms have supported exports and investment in recent years. However, global uncertainties and the effects of social unrests weighed on activity in 2018. Employment rates remain low and the fiscal situation has not recovered. Real wage growth and productivity gains have not returned to pre-crisis levels, despite a slight rebound in 2017-18.

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