Already faced with inflation, several sectors are now suffering the effects of social mobilization against the pension reform, after 10 days of strikes and demonstrations since January 19. Serious consequences in the immediate future for the sectors concerned, but which do not endanger the overall economy of the country.
In trade, 19% less turnover per day of strike
The demonstrations are beginning to weigh concretely on the businesses. According to the Trade Alliance, the last day of mobilization on Thursday March 23 caused the daily turnover of traders throughout France to drop by 19%. In more detail, the latter lost 20% in Paris, and even worse in other cities: -60% in Rennes, -30% in Bordeaux, -29% in Toulouse.
The Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI France) deplored Friday, March 24 the economic impact of “violent” demonstrations and “blockages” on the activity of shops. They also believe that “after the health crisis and in a period marked by inflation and supply difficulties, our traders cannot afford to lower the curtain”, recalling that in France, local trade represents 634,000 companies for 3.5 million jobs.
Between 8 and 23% shortfall in the hotel and catering industry
It is the Minister Delegate in charge of Tourism who is sounding the alarm. Monday March 27, Olivia Grégoire said she was “worried” about the impact of the social movement on the French tourism sector. Is right. Hotel and catering professionals have already recently warned of their concern about suffering “very directly the backlash” from the demonstrations on their activity.
Many establishments were forced to close their doors during the 10 days of demonstrations in major French cities. Others have, according to the president of Umih Ile-de-France Franck Delvau, experienced “cancellations of 20 to 50%” during these days.
Parisian hotels have announced a loss of turnover of 14% on average on strike days, against 8% in the region, compared to a normal day according to the firm MKG. During the last day of demonstration on Thursday March 23, these shortfalls reached 28% in Paris and 13% in the region. According to MKG, the impact is nevertheless relative, since turnover in the sector remains up this year compared to 2019 and 2022.
One billion losses per strike day?
Between the shutdown of refineries, blockages in transport and strikers in the private sector, the unions had promised to “bring the economy to its knees”. What is ultimately the cost of the days of strikes and demonstrations for the French economy? Several economists have offered answers in the media in recent months. In January, the economist Marc Touati estimated on the website of Capital that “the cost of a strong strike represents about 20% less activity at the national level”. With a French GDP of 2,550 billion euros in 2022, each working day represents a GDP of around 10 billion euros. “Either a cost of around 2 billion euros” per day of strike, concludes the economist.
A figure that others relativize. Near The voice of the North, the head of the business cycle department of INSEE Julien Pouget recalled that the impact of the strike also depends greatly on the mobilization in the private sectors for example, and on indirect impacts such as those suffered by shops or restaurants. . Overall “at the macroeconomic level, the effect is quite modest,” he said in early March.
In 2019, the social movement against the pension reform, which had lasted three months with several days of national mobilization and renewable strikes in several sectors – a record of 37 consecutive days had then been established by the SNCF – had represented a drop in “between 0.1 and 0.2%” of quarterly GDP, recalls the economist, or about one billion euros. The scale was the same for the previous major social movements, “whether in 1995, 2007 or 2010” underlines the economist Sylvain Bersinger in an interview with L’Express, underlining the uselessness of comparing the cost of a day’s strike with that of the deficit in the pension scheme. In comparison, the Covid caused an 8% drop in national GDP over the whole year in 2020.