Économie et Statistique n° 462-463 “Sacrificed generation” on the labour market - Employment and territories from 1975 to 2009 - The 2008 crisis and corporate failures? - Entreprises in Overseas territories - The changes in marriage and marital regimes in France
Is there a “sacrificed generation”? Joining the labour market in a negative economic cycle
The economic crisis of the late 2000s has had a major impact on young people entering the labour market, diminishing their short-term job and wage prospects. In this study focused on France, we attempt to find out whether those young people who enter the labour market during a crisis are also penalised in the long term. Using data from the Employment survey, we study cohorts who left the school system between 1982 and 2010. This period includes more than two complete economic cycles. In the short term, the price paid by unlucky cohorts is seen above all in terms of employment rate rather than in the wages earned by those who find a job. After four years all these differences narrow and trajectories converge. The contrasts between generations who entered the labour market in more or less favourable cycles appear to be less marked in France than in most other countries. One possible explanation is the large proportion of young people hired on the minimum wage. Wages have limited room for decline in a difficult economic situation. The impact of the economic cycle thus shifts to the employment rate, although without a lasting stigmatising effect during the subsequent integration process. Longer periods of unemployment at the start of a career do not appear to be perceived by employers as a sign of lesser employability, because they know that the unemployment rate among young people is high in France anyway, irrespective of cohort. It is obviously too early to know whether these results can be fully extrapolated to the current crisis. Its scale and mechanisms are very specific. Its impact on careers could therefore turn out to be greater than that of previous crises.