what will this day of action cost the French economy?

Margaux Fodéré, edited by Alexandre Dalifard
modified to

10:08 a.m., January 19, 2023

Several unions are on strike today in the face of pension reform, including those in transport, energy and education… Entire sectors of the economy could be paralyzed. But this day of action should not have a big impact on the French economy.

It is a black Thursday which is announced in France. Several unions are striking against the pension reform and mobilizations are expected in transport, energy, education too… Entire sectors of the economy could be paralyzed. But a priori, this day of action will not cost much to the French economy.

A few hundred million euros

First, the strike promises to be very popular in transport, but much less in other important sectors of the economy, such as industry, explains Sylvain Bersinger, economist at Asterès. “It will probably be an impact of a few hundred million euros on French GDP, a maximum of one billion euros. It should be remembered that French GDP is around 2,400 billion euros. “It’s a totally negligible impact. There would have to be several days of strikes, like tomorrow’s, for us to start seeing a small impact on growth”.

Then, even if the strike lasts and leads to a more significant fall in activity, there is a good chance that GDP will rebound from next quarter, through a catch-up effect.

Teleworking as a solution

Finally, the generalization of teleworking allows companies to continue to operate, despite the blockages, recalls Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, the president of MEDEF. “The RATP strike will complicate the journey of private sector employees in the Paris region where, in many cases, teleworking, at least for a day, is a solution”. And for the moment, it is not a renewable strike.