French industry continues to create factories despite a very difficult context

Posted Sep 21, 2022, 6:00 AM

Despite the war in Ukraine and high inflation, economic activity has held up so far. The increasingly uncertain context has not stopped the desire for reindustrialization in France since the beginning of the year, as shown by the data published on Tuesday by the Trendeo observatory of employment and investment for the first semester.

“The figures are reassuring,” confirms David Cousquer, the company's founder and manager. " But for how long ? he wonders pointing the explosion of energy prices and the threat of rationing this winter .

It prevents. In the first six months of 2022, 90 plant creation announcements were identified by the company from press articles, and only 35 closures. That is a net balance of 55 new sites, reflecting the resistance of the industrial fabric despite more difficult environment.

In many sectors

A rate close to previous semesters (+52 factories in the second half of 2021, +66 in the first half of 2021), which corresponded to the highest levels reached since this barometer has existed. Creation of industrial sites is planned in many sectors. With 12 projects announced, the food industry is the main beneficiary of the wave, but new factories should also see the light of day in the field of recycling, in the leather and shoe industry or in wood processing. The Fournier group, manufacturer of Mobalpa kitchens, will thus invest 120 million euros to launch a production site in the Drôme, the luxury leather goods manufacturer Hermès will open two new workshops…

The movement of relocation of activities on the territory is also continuing, but at a slower pace. In the first half, 28 manufacturers repatriated or internalized production that was developed abroad. In 2021, no less than 46 relocations had been recorded by Trendeo over the period, and almost as many (44) over the following six months. An exceptional vintage partly linked to the activation of the France Relance plan, launched in September 2020, of which a third of the envelope of 100 billion euros was devoted to industry.

“Last year, 40% of relocations were supported by subsidies paid by France Relance. In view of the data from this start of the year, we can assume that the money for the program has been spent”, observes David Cousquer while recalling that “before the health crisis, the number of relocations of activity over a semester was mostly less than 10”. The pandemic and the disruptions on production lines have reminded manufacturers of the importance of bringing their manufacturing closer together. Offshoring of activities remains at an all-time low...

10,000 more industrial jobs

Despite the more anxiety-provoking climate, the net balance of overall job creations and losses in the first half of the year remained high and exceeded 85,500, according to Trendeo, (against 95,300 according to INSEE, which is studying a different perimeter ). Only logistics and call centers and online services suffered staff losses. “Probable backlash from deconfinements”, according to David Cousquer. On the other hand, industrial employment, usually the first affected in times of crisis, remains solid and even gains more than 10,000 jobs over one year.

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