After the euphoria, the Lozère economy is more cautious, but remains efficient

After the euphoria, the Lozère economy is more cautious, but remains efficient

Les organisateurs de la soirée de l'économie, CCI, Banque de France, avec la représentante de l'Etat. MIDI LIBRE – STEPHANIE BOULOIR

La Chambre de commerce et de l'industrie de la Lozère et la Banque de France ont conjointement présenté le bilan 2023 et les perspectives 2024.

After two years that could almost be described as euphoric, the economy evening, co-organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry # Industry (CCI) of Lozère and the Banque de France, at the beginning of March, took a slightly more measured tone. In front of a well-stocked audience of economic and financial partners, business leaders, elected officials and administrations, the results of the year 2023 were presented and, above all, the prospects for 2024. "Business leaders need to have visibility, to know how the territory behaves", asked Thierry Julier, president of the CCI.

The decline in inflation

The Banque de France, through its departmental director Fabrice Bugnon-Murys, first made a national update, confirming a recovery expected for 2025,&nbsp ;as well as the decline in inflation, with a gradual return to 2% by 2025 at the latest. Added to this good news are others, such as the increase in real wages which stimulates consumption, the main driver of growth in 2024. Downside for businesses: slowed investments, in particular because of the context and the ambient uncertainty, and an extension of payment deadlines.

Full employment

Concerning the economic health of the department, the central point is of course the unemployment rate, at 4.8% while it stands at 8.8% in Occitanie and 7.2 % in mainland France. It is therefore full employment. And this has consequences for companies which struggle to recruit. "Fifteen professions account for 40% of the offers, and these professions are those of catering and medico-social", underlines Mathieu Rissoan. Out of 4,100 offers submitted, 38% concern public administration, which encounters the same recruitment problems. The study carried out by the CCI makes it possible to target two main obstacles to employment: digital exclusion and transport. Two subjects on which the partners, such as the State through the voice of Laure Trotin, secretary general of the prefecture, and the Department, through that of its president Sophie Pantel, have said they are working. < /p>

Other interesting data, the average salary in the private sector is lower than in other departments in the region, 2,218 euros, but the use of temporary work is also much lower in Lozère than elsewhere (0.96% of salaried jobs).

The figures for business creation were also communicated, "after two somewhat crazy years, where we outperformed a little< /em>", warned Mathieu Rissoan. There were 592 in 2012, 559 in 2022, 458 in 2023. For 246 radiations. The share of entrepreneurs under 30 years old increases from year to year, and the sector which records the most creations-takeovers remains the hotel and catering industry.

Declining morale among business leaders

The CCI also surveyed the morale of business leaders, who are generally not very confident about their turnover and developments of their workforce. Commerce is rather pessimistic, the hotel and catering industry rather optimistic. As for industry, it is encountering some difficulties, with a decline in its economic activity, and it is therefore pessimism that dominates. On this subject, Thierry Julier specified: "The majors in industry do not suffer, it is the small ones in industry who suffer, in particular the wood sector." Some sawmills had to resort to technical unemployment in 2023, a drop in activity linked to the drop in transport at the national level, and therefore the need for pallets for example.


As for construction and public works, the situation is also mixed with, overall, a lack of construction starts for construction, underlines Véronique Michelitz, for the Bank of France, which evokes for 2024 "an erosion of the order book for structural work". The second work holds up better. For public works, growth will depend on communities, for which investments are also slowing down. For now, after a fairly stable year in 2023, the number of files seems to be down sharply in 2024. However, Sophie Pantel affirmed: "In proportion to our budget, we are among the five departments that invest the most." 

Real estate: a break at the start of 2024

In 2023, the production of credits & habitat has clearly decreased; compared to &agrav; 2022 in France, but also in Lozère. It must be said that the interest rates on new loans have increased sharply. in 2023, to reach 4.04% in December (compared to 1.50%). The increase moderated at the very end of the year. At the same time, real estate prices have started to rise. a slight decline in the third quarter. The two combined trends are giving some real estate purchasing power back to households. But the effects are not yet felt: "In 2024, we see a strong break in the market. of credit & housing, there are very few requests", underlines Patrick Vésinet (Cré agricole). For its part, the Building Federation notes: “The construction of individual houses is disappearing& ;icirc;be. Builders are reinventing themselves through renovation."

If caution is required, "Lozère remains efficient", wanted to remind Thierry Julier. Growth continued, except for industry: for commerce (+7%), for accommodation and catering (+11%), for transport and warehousing (+15%), for construction (+7%) and for agriculture (+10%). The activity figures declared in Lozère have continued to increase in 2023, with a total of 2,713,271,153 €.

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