France - Labor Force Employment

France: Labor Force Employment

Mnemonic LBE.IFRA
Unit Ths., SA
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted
Quarterly 0.54 %
Data 2022 Q4 28,291
2022 Q3 28,444

Series Information

Source French National Institute of Statistics and Economic studies (insee)
Release Unemployment as defined by the ILO
Frequency Quarterly
Start Date 3/31/1975
End Date 12/31/2022

France: Labor

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Labor Force 2022 Q4 30,486 30,684 Ths., SA Quarterly
Labor Force Employment 2022 Q4 28,291 28,444 Ths., SA Quarterly
Primary Industries Employment 2022 Q4 746.1 746.8 Ths. #, SA Quarterly
Total Employment 2022 Q4 29,835 29,758 Ths. #, SA Quarterly
Unemployment 2022 Q4 2,195 2,240 Ths. #, SA Quarterly
Unemployment Rate 2022 Q4 7.2 7.3 %, SA Quarterly
Wage & Salaries 2022 Q3 110.6 109.6 Index Jun2017=100, NSA Quarterly
Agriculture Employment 2017 872,453 870,790 # Annual
Total Employment Non-Ag 2017 Q1 16,227 16,174 Ths., SA Quarterly

Release Information

For France: the ILO-definition unemployment and unemployment rate, by sex and broad age bracket. Two surveys are conducted: covering most of France, and (from 2009) the Mayotte DOM.


  • Measurements:
    • Thousands of persons (Ths. #)
    • Percent (%)
  • Adjustment: Seasonally adjusted (SA)
  • Native frequency: Quarterly
  • Start dates:
    • As early as 1975Q1
    • Uniformly 1982Q1 for subnational areas
  • Geo coverage:
    • Metropolitan France (i.e., mainland)
    • France excl. Mayotte (i.e., Metropolitan France and four of five DOMs)
    • Region/NUTS 1 area (IFRA_^^^^)
    • Economic planning zone/NUTS 2 area (IFRA_^^)
    • NUTS 3 areas (IFRA_^^^)


  • Pre-IESS - 1975 to 2020
  • 1975 to 2013

The source writes:

Unemployment according to the ILO definition and labour market indicators (results of the Employment survey)

The “Emploi en continu“ (“The continuous Labour force”) survey is a survey conducted among households that encompasses all individuals of 15 years and above who live in metropolitan France. It is a quarterly survey compiling data continuously collected on a weekly basis over the quarter. Around 45,000 regular households are polled each quarter (i.e. the inhabitants of 45,000 homes, excluding communal establishments such as student houses, university campuses, hospitals, prisons), equivalent to around 75,000 people of 15 years or above. This sample is partially replaced on a quarterly basis. This rolling survey is completed by means of a mail questionnaire sent to non-respondents, whose results are available later. About 1,500 households answer this survey.

The annual Labour force survey in the French overseas départements (DOM) is performed during the second quarter of the year in the four overseas départements (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion). It covers a sample of 20,000 households.

The Labour force survey captures all possible labour market circumstances: employment, unemployment, retirement, studies, inactivity, etc. It is also the only source that can incorporate the definitions provided by the International Labour Office (ILO) on unemployment, employment, underemployment and labour source activity.

The unemployment rate is the ratio of the number of unemployed individuals to the total labour force (workforce or unemployed individuals). The combined mainland and DOM rate is calculated by merging data from the two surveys.

As regards the DOM, econometric models are used to estimate the number of unemployed and the workforce over the three quarters in which no Labour force survey is conducted. Model-based assessments are consistently aligned with results of the DOM Employment survey as soon as these become available. As regards estimating unemployment, separate models are built for each Dom. Explanatory variables are, as applicable, the number of individuals registered with the French national employment agency or ANPE (the number of end-of-month jobseekers in categories 1, 2, 3, excluding reduced activity)  and/or the aggregate number of individuals struck off the records for administrative reasons or for failing to clock in during the quarter. As regards estimating employment, estimates for wage-earning employment in the trading industry field are used, based on data provided by the French social welfare collection agencies “Urssaf”. Estimates by gender and age groups are determined by breaking down model-based outputs in line with the breakdown in the latest Labour force survey in French overseas départements available. This method used to determine the unemployment rate in the French overseas départements means that it is not possible to provide the accurate jobless number for those départements on a quarterly basis.

Other labour market indicators refer to the population structure (employment, unemployment, labour force activity), employment features as well as near-unemployment situations. This list of indicators is subject to change going forward. These indicators cover only France métropolitaine and directly reflect results from the “continuous Labour force” poll. The extrapolating approach described above for deriving the annual results of the DOM labour force survey, as applied to unemployment, is not replicated for other indicators as this would imply building different econometric models in each case, which is not always feasible. All series are seasonally adjusted by the X12 software implemented in the Demetra interface. The calculation for seasonal adjustment ratios is reviewed on a quarterly basis, potentially resulting in whole series being altered slightly.

Quarterly results for the Labour force survey for a specific quarter are released at the beginning of the third month following the end of that quarter. Data for the latest available quarter are preliminary. Indeed, survey data relating to non-respondents for the corresponding quarter are not available at the date of release. A revision is thus scheduled to be released the following quarter, which is when survey data relating to non-respondents in the corresponding quarter are incorporated. Results of the ongoing quarter are estimated based on survey data relating to previous quarters’ non-respondents.

As regards the unemployment rate in France métropolitaine and the overseas départements, data are revised once a year, when Q3 unemployment is released, for the latest four quarters available, due to a new annual labour force survey in the DOM.

Finally, regular reviews of demographic information based on annual census surveys (“enquêtes de recensement”) entail minor changes in the number of individuals and estimated rates based on Labour force surveys.

The source also writes:

Insee reports data in conjunction with Directorate of Demographic and Social Statistics (DSDS) and Directorate for Dissemination and Regional Action (DDAR). Data is gathered through the synthesis of the continuous employment survey an the source Pôle Emploi (jobseekers at the end of the month). Prior to 2008, the series were estimated at the end of the month from job seekers data (DEFM) using the national level.

Data is now estimated as a quarterly average using the European interpretation of ILO employment. Data is estimated by taking the share of unemployment (numerator) and employment (part of the denominator), by area of employment and department. The share of unemployment is obtained each quarter from the national unemployment breakdown by geographic level from the DEFM structure.

Employment is based on estimates of employment from the Estel Estelations d'emploi (Estel) system and on work-to-place matrices (census source Of the population before 2008, and then Estel).

Data is extended for the most recent period according to the average evolution observed over the last 3 years. The rate is calculated after being seasonally adjusted by comparing the number of unemployed to the labor force total.


The unemployed under the International Labour Office (ILO) definition comprise all working-age persons (conventionally those of at least 15 years of age) that 1°) during the reference week had no employment, even for one hour, 2°) were available to start work within the next two weeks and 3°) had actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks or had found a job due to start within 3 months.

The proportion of jobseekers within the population of 15 years and above differs from the unemployment rate, which is the ratio of the number of jobseekers to the size of the active population  (working or unemployed).

The employment rate is the ratio of the number of individuals with a job to the population of 15 years of age or above.

The activity rate is the ratio of the number of active individuals (i.e. in employment or unemployed) to the population of 15 years of age or above.

Unemployed people willing to work are not necessarily unemployed as per the ILO definition, for instance because they are not available to start work within the next two weeks, or because they have not actively sought employment during the previous four weeks. These two criteria, which an individual has to meet in order to be considered as a jobseeker under the ILO definition, are each released separately in the Informations Rapides publication, then published simultaneously.  This concept partially reflects what is often described as falling within the outer circle of unemployment, referring to those persons who are not necessarily considered as jobseekers under the ILO definition but whose situation is however “close” to unemployment.


Concurrent with dissemination of results for 2021Q1, the IESS framework was implemented.

Moody's Analytics supplements

We compute the levels of labor force and employment from the reported unemployment and unemployment rate.

Seasonally-adjusted ratios are re-assessed each quarter, resulting in minor adjustments.