Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

French Companies Boost Hiring as Business Confidence Improves

Updated on
  • PMI, Insee show business sentiment surging across economy
  • Euro-area recovery, Macron reforms spur hiring, investment

French companies stepped up hiring to its fastest pace in almost 17 years to meet surging demand and growing backlog of unfinished work as business confidence surged.

A composite Purchasing Managers’ Index unexpectedly rose to 60.1 in November from 57.4 in October, IHS Markit said on Thursday. That’s the strongest reading in 6-1/2 years and compares with economists’ forecasts for a decline to 57.2. A release from the national statistics office Insee showed sentiment among companies at its highest level in almost a decade.

France is enjoying its best streak of growth in more than six years as President Emmanuel Macron presses ahead with reforms intended to revamp the euro area’s second-largest economy. The expansion is benefiting from tax cuts pushed through by the previous government and a broader recovery in the rest of the 19-nation currency bloc.

“The party goes on for the French private-sector economy,” Alex Gill, an economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement. “The latest numbers suggest the night is still young.” 

Faced with continued growth in new orders, French companies lifted their selling prices, the London-based company said. That was only the sixth increase since April 2012, though it lagged behind the rise in input costs.

French business confidence climbed two points to 111 in November, according to Insee, with executives from manufacturing, services, construction and retail all indicating increased demand and optimism.

Fench business confidence climbs to highest in almost a decade

Insee

Manufacturing and services activity in Germany edged higher in November. Economists predict a similar gauge for the euro area will stay unchanged at 56. Those data are due at 10 a.m.

— With assistance by Kristian Siedenburg

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