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Firms Invest in France as Rules "Make It Easier to Hire and Fire"



(p. B1) PARIS -- The announcements came in a steady drumbeat. Around 1,300 job cuts at France's biggest automaker. At least 2,500 at France's largest supermarket chain. Over 200 sought at a major clothing retailer. And thousands more are on the way.

Just weeks after France's labor overhaul went into effect, companies are readily taking advantage of new rules that make it easier to hire and fire.


. . .


Perceptions of France, long derided as a difficult place to do business for its onerous labor rules, are changing.

Growth has recently picked up after being stagnant for nearly five years. And there are signs that the changes, a major piece of the president's economic program, are drawing the interest of investors.

Amazon will open a new distribution center south of Paris this year, creating over 1,000 jobs. Facebook and Google announced Monday they would invest in artificial intelligence development in France. Also Monday, Toyota announced it would invest 300 million euros, or $367 million, to increase capacity at a plant in northern (p. B3) France, creating up to 700 jobs through 2020.

"The complex labor laws have historically been the No. 1 obstacle to the competitiveness and attractiveness of France," said Olivier Marchal, the chairman of Bain & Company France, a business consulting firm. The changes, together with other business-friendly measures such as a gradual reduction in the corporate tax, have "drastically changed investor perceptions," he said.



For the full story, see:

LIZ ALDERMAN. "Newfound Freedom ... to Fire." The New York Times (Weds., January 24, 2018): B1 & B3.

(Note: ellipsis in article title, in original; ellipsis between quoted paragraphs, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date JAN. 23, 2018, and has the title "French Companies Have Newfound Freedom ... to Fire.")






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