Could economic recovery finally be on the horizon as the new school year starts? This seems
to be the opinion of French entrepreneurs whose morale is picking up in a number of sectors.
According to an INSEE survey published on 29 August, the business climate indicator in
France, calculated from the replies of company heads in the main sectors of activity, rose by
3 points in August, settling at 90, a level that nonetheless remains below its long-time average
Not only this, the French GDP went up by 0.5 % in the second quarter after six consecutive
months of recession, partly explained by the recovery of the Eurozone that grew by 0.3 %
over the same period. However, France continues to have a particularly high unemployment
rate (10.9% in May 2013 according to Eurostat) and the French still need to wait for industrial
investments to recover.
Optimism varying according to the sector
More particularly, the business climate indicator in France increased by 3 points in industry, 2
points in services and 8 in retailing. It however remains stable in the building industry.
According to INSEE, this improvement is namely due to the fact that “global and foreign
order books have improved in the manufacturing industry”. In the retailing and automobile
repairs sectors, fewer employers “than last month declare a drop in their recent and forecast
activity,” notes INSEE. In services, “entrepreneurs estimate that activity remains reduced
over the recent period, but their anticipation of activity and above all, of demand, is picking
However, not all professions show the same optimism. This is the case of real estate that
remains morose, and the hotel and restaurant industry that suffered an unsatisfactory summer
season. And above all building contractors who believe that the economic situation remained
“unfavourable” in August in their sector and are still pessimistic about their activity in