Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What They Don't Tell You About the French Youth Jobs Protest

Easier to hire as well as fire

There has been lots of news about the protests all around France concerning new labor laws which would make it easier to fire the newly hired (eg the young). The media says the protests are about making it easier to fire the newly-employed. It should be noted that the new laws would also make it easier to hire these people as well. If it is hard to fire someone that is a cost of hiring someone. Unemployment for young adults in France is greater than 10%. This is outrageous considering that most economists think that the natural rate of unemployment is around 5%.

It is good to see the French leadership ackowledging these structural problems. Work is good in France (high wages, small work weeks, generous benefits) if you are one of the lucky ones to be employed. But if you are one of the unlucky, well, too bad. France also has generous stipends for its students (those with the time on their hands to protest) so there is a ready pool of protestors. France is fun.