With French labor costs up about 19 percent in a decade and neighboring Germany’s holding almost constant, France’s share of euro-area exports has dropped by 3.5 percent, more than any other country in the region, according to a study by research group Coe-Rexecode in Paris.
Over the period, operating margins of French companies have shrunk by almost 40 percent, limiting their ability to invest and sustain future growth, figures from the Groupe des Federations Industrielles show. The operating margins of German companies have gained about 40 percent, the GFI report said.
In many ways, the situation in the auto industry is emblematic. About 2 million cars are now produced in France, down from 3.5 million in 2005 and employment by car manufacturers has dropped by 30 percent in a decade, the government estimates. The question is whether Hollande is ready to do what it takes to reverse that drop.
Can’t say they weren’t warned about the difference between wishing something were so and stark reality.