Last week I was surprised by the number of registered people at Pôle Emploi the labor French Agency. The number of registered dropped by 50 000 in August and it was perceived as too much with regard to the economic situation. (see here for my analysis)
Today the minister of labor has published a press release saying that there was a mistake in the number. Instead of -50 000 the number was comprised between -22 000 and – 29 000. The main reason is the following: someone who is already at Pôle Emploi has to check his registration every month. Five days before the last day to register, Pôle Emploi sends a SMS to those who are late. There was a problem with the SMS and a large number of people did not receive the message.
There were too many radiations.
Is the number totally wrong or not? That’s the important question.
In my analysis mentioned above I said that there were two parts in the figure.
One reflects lower separation rate from companies. But the recovery is not perceived as strong enough to start hiring. I said that it was a very positive part of the figure as it means that companies start thinking differently about their activity and the labor market. This part of the analysis is unchanged and that’s good news for the French economy. It shows a change in behavior due to better prospects.
The other part of the figure is linked to radiations. The lack of precision for August implies that I will wait until September figures to make a new analysis.
What is puzzling with this publication is the fact that everyone has perceived that something was wrong even at the ministry of labor. There was a warning on the first page of the publication. But the figure was published. And once it is published it is considered as true.
Then if there was a doubt at the ministry why was it published? The other question is to know at what moment of the procedure it has been said that it was not worrisome to publish such a figure on which there is doubt. The press release doesn’t say anything on that but that’s probably the most fascinating part of the story.