The Economy of France

The Economy of France

French Economy

Economy - overview: France is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, and has ceded stakes in such leading firms as Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. It maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. Widespread opposition to labor reform has in recent years hampered the government's ability to revitalize the economy. During 2007-08, the government implemented several important labor reforms, including a de facto extension of the 35-hour workweek by allowing employees to work longer overtime hours. During 2009, the government is expected to delay or even renounce other reform efforts due to the on-going financial crisis. GDP growth dropped to 0.7% in 2008; the French government plans to increase public investment and continue injecting capital into the banking sector to alleviate the negative effects of the crisis during 2009. As a result of lower fiscal revenues and increased expenditures the general government deficit is expected to exceed the eurozone's ceiling 3% of GDP. France's tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe - at nearly 50% of GDP in 2005. With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism.


GDP - real growth rate: 0.7% (2008 est.) 2.1% (2007 est.) 2.4% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 2.2% industry: 20.3% services: 77.4% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3% highest 10%: 24.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 32.7 (2008)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 28.5 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 3.8% industry: 24.3% services: 71.8% (2005)

Unemployment rate: 7.4% (2008 est.)

Budget: revenues: $1.439 trillion expenditures: $1.525 trillion (2008 est.)

Industries: machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: -8% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 570 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 480 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - exports: 67.6 billion kWh (2007)

Electricity - imports: 10.8 billion kWh (2007)

Oil - production: 71,400 bbl/day (2007)

Oil - consumption: 1.95 million bbl/day (2007)

Oil - exports: 584,700 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 2.465 million bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 122 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production: 953 million cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 42.69 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 966 million cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 42.9 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 7.277 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Agriculture - products: wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish

Exports: $761 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages

Exports - partners: Germany 14.9%, Spain 9.3%, Italy 8.9%, UK 8.1%, Belgium 7.3%, US 6.1%, Netherlands 4.1% (2007)

Imports: $833 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals

Imports - partners: Germany 18.9%, Belgium 11.4%, Italy 8.4%, Spain 7.1%, Netherlands 7%, UK 5.6%, US 4.4%, China 4% (2007)

Debt - external: $5.37 trillion (30 September 2008)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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