Business The loss of economic activity in France currently estimated...

The loss of economic activity in France currently estimated at 35%

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A site stopped in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, March 23, 2020. – Thomas SAMSON / AFP

Faced with containment measures,
INSEE took out the calculator. According to the statistics body, France could experience a loss of activity of 35% because of
the Covid-19 crisis, with a “fairly heterogeneous” effect depending on the sector.

If the current situation lasted for a month, it could cost France 3 points of gross domestic product (GDP) over the year. If the confinement were to last two months, the loss of GDP would be 6 points over a year, adds the INSEE which specifies however that “it is not easy” to make such a forecast.

Massive losses in construction and transport

To assess the loss of activity by sector, INSEE used data from direct feedback from companies and professional federations, but also, in a more original way, data on energy consumption and transport use. rail or bank card transactions. Thus, if agricultural activities “should continue a little below normal”, like the food industries, on the other hand “only half of the activity of the rest of the industry would be maintained” currently.

Similarly, construction would suffer a massive loss of 89%, and market services about 36%, some of them being very affected, such as transport, hotel or catering, but others much less, such as telecommunications or real estate rent payments. Non-market services (education, childcare, sports) are reported to have a 14% lack of activity.

Too much uncertainty, even for INSEE

The calculation of a loss of activity of around 35% “seems consistent with the first information available on the situation of employees, a third of whom are active in the usual place of work, a third in telework and
the last third in partial unemployment, “said INSEE.

Household consumption is also currently one-third (35%) lower than normal, the institute still assesses, mainly due to the reduction “to the minimum” of certain expenses, such as textiles, clothing but also some manufacturing industry goods. INSEE has suspended the publication of its annual growth forecast due to the uncertainty of the situation.

The evolution of GDP growth “is very closely linked to the scenario of ending the health crisis,” said the institute, adding that “it is not excluded that the return to normalcy will not be immediate”.

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