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Pierre Cahuc - French labor market

Country labor market predictions: Pierre Cahuc on the French labor market.

In France, we have a very high unemployment rate, about 9 per cent today, and this very high unemployment rate has been there for a very long time, for several decades.

So, the big challenge is to have lower unemployment, to increase employment, and the way to do this is to improve wage formation, more flexible wages and also to improve recruitment by the firms, meaning to have more flexible labor contracts.

There have been some reforms in these dimensions, but these reforms have been very marginal and we need to do more in this direction, to have a lower unemployment rate.

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh - U.S. labor market

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    So the issue is, what’s in the next year in the United States, what our problem is? The United States is at more than full employment. To me, the biggest labor market problem is not a next year problem but it’s a long term problem that we work more than anybody else in any other rich country.

    You in England, and Europe, have four or five weeks of paid holiday, we have no mandatory paid holiday and the average American gets two weeks. We work longer, we work more at nights, we work more at weekends, and this kind of madness, in what is one of the richest countries in the world, is to me a longer term labor market problem that I hope we can address.

  • Alex Bryson - UK labor market

    Country labor market predictions: Alex Bryson on the UK labor market.

    Okay so, I’m from Britain, so the greatest labor market challenge facing my country is probably, a two-fold one actually.

    One, that everybody will expect me to say, which is Brexit, and boy is that true because we rely on international talent to remain globally competitive in Britain. We are still a small nation state, and it’s extremely important that we show that we’re open to business and can attract and retain the best talent in the world.

    The second one is perhaps something that people will have less, paid less attention to and that’s this long term stagnation in real wages. It’s been going on for some time, in fact it slightly predates the recession, and this means that there are real problems in the labor market. We do very well on employment and employment rates, but workers are finding it very very difficult, and find, struggle to maintain standards of living when wages have been stagnate for so long.

    The government’s been doing a little bit about that, in particular increasing the national minimum wage, but it’s a challenge for all of us to ensure that labor gets its fair share of increasing wealth in the country.

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