Ashton Whiteley: France Faces Labor Shortages

Ashton Whiteley: Lack of skilled laborers could have impact on France's economic rebound.

Ashton Whiteley: While business booms for many French manufacturers as the economy picks up, business owners face the problem of being unable to find sufficient laborers even though the country has millions of unemployed.

Manufacturers are battling to source skilled laborers in order to keep up with orders that increased by 33 percent in 2017. In the meantime, suppliers are unable to locate workers to make parts to supply the manufacturers with their requirements.

Analysts at Shanghai, China-based Ashton Whiteley say the problem is not unique to France’s manufacturing sector. Western economies including the US and Germany are facing similar challenges as their economic recoveries outpace the capabilities of their existing labor forces.

In France, the extreme labor shortages, which affect the engineering, IT and construction sectors, exist despite a persistently high rate of joblessness. The rate of unemployment currently stands at 9.4 percent and has not fallen below 9 percent since 2012.

Ashton Whiteley analysts say the reason for the high rate of unemployment and lack of sufficient laborers is the significant mismatch in skills. France does not have enough workers with the skills necessary to meet the demands of evolving jobs.

Even while the nation experiences its strongest period of growth since 2012, the shortage of skilled laborers is causing hold-ups in production and problems with supply chains. Ashton Whiteley economists believe that these problems could affect the growth potential of the country’s economy.

According to a recent survey by the INSEE statistics office, 33 percent of France’s manufacturing companies are working at full capacity, a level of operation not seen in 28 years, and as many as 40 percent of companies are having problems finding workers.

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Source: Ashton Whiteley