L'économie française - Insee Références - Édition 2011
The French economy comes out of recession
In 2010 the French economy returned to growth : GDP increased by 1.5%, after annual averages of - 2.7% in 2009 and - 0.1% in 2008. The economy actually began to grow again as early as mid-2009. The upturn has, however, been moderate: in Q4 2010, the level of activity was lower than prior to the recession. Furthermore, the post-crisis phase has shown disparities across business sectors. Activity rebounded sharply in industry and, to a lesser extent, in market services. However, the construction sector was still in recession in 2010. On the demand side, the upturn was primarily due to the strong rebound in exports in the wake of world trade, after the collapse of trade in 2009. In particular, demand from Germany, our premier trading partner, was very dynamic in 2010. Additionally, household consumption picked up, although its growth rate remained below that prior to the crisis as purchasing power was sluggish and the unemployment rate was high.Government investment dropped and public-sector consumption also slowed, to the extent that general government demand slowed sharply in 2010, after accelerating in 2009 under the effect of the stimulus plan. Government deficit as a ratio to GDP stood at 7.1% in 2010, slightly down on 2009 (7.5%). Growth in corporate demand is the factor that explains the amplitude of the economic cycle in 2009-2010. After contracting sharply in 2009, corporate investment rose slightly as an average over 2010, under the effect of the pick-up in expenditure on capital goods and on services further to improving business prospects. The stocking-up behaviour of companies also buoyed growth in 2010, without however cancelling out the sudden trend towards inventory runoff observed in 2009. Buoyed up by the clear upturn in demand, both domestic and foreign, imports rebounded sharply in 2010.