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France Economy

France Economy

The economy of France is a mixed economy which is the fifth largest in the world in nominal terms, behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany and the eighth largest by purchasing power parity. It is the second largest economy in Europe behind Germany in nominal terms.

Unemployment and Economy in France

France has a relatively high unemployment rate for a western European country currently running at between 12-15% according to different sources. A large percentage of the unemployed population of France comes from ethnic minorities including North Africans and Sub Saharan Africans. This high level of unemployment among young ethnic men, most of whom live in the suburbs of France’s major cities, has led to increasing tensions between minority communities and the general population in recent years.

Industrial economy in France

France is one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world with high levels of technological capabilities. Approximately 40% of the workforce is employed in the industrial sector while about half of the GNP comes from the same sector. Leading industrial sectors in France are telecommunications (including communication satellites), aerospace and defense, ship building (naval and specialist ships), pharmaceuticals, construction and civil engineering, chemicals, and automobile production (3.5m units in 2005).

Multinational corporations & economy in France

Despite France’s highly industrialized economy and world renowned universities, France has comparatively fewer large multinational corporations than other countries of similar size and resources.

Agricultural economy in France

France is the world's second-largest agricultural producer, after the United States.
France’s economy is also composed of a significant agricultural sector. France is currently one of the largest agricultural exporters in the EU.  Main agricultural exports of France include maize, barley, wheat and cheese. France’s strong agricultural sector has made it almost self sufficient for food; however, the agricultural sector in France is still disappointingly unprofitable.

The destination of 70% of its exports is other EU member states. Wine and beverages, wheat, meat, and dairy products are the principal exports. The United States, the sixth-largest exporter to France in recent data, faces stiff competition from domestic production, other EU member states, and third countries.


GDP real growth rate: 2.7% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity- $23,300 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
  • Agriculture: 3.3%
  • Industry  : 26.1%
  • Services: 70.6% (1998)
Population below poverty line: NA%

Inflation rate(consumer prices): 0.5% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 25.4 million (1994)

Labor force - by occupation: services 69%, industry 26%, agriculture 5% (1995)

Unemployment rate: 11% (1999 est.)


revenues: $325 billion
expenditures: $360 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 2% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 480,972 GWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
  • fossil fuel : 10.77%
  • hydro      : 12.45%
  • nuclear    : 76.24%
  • other      : 0.54% (1998)
Electricity - consumption: 389,254 GWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 62,000 GWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 3,950 GWh (1998)

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

Exports: $304.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, iron and steel products; agricultural products, textiles and clothing

Exports - partners: EU 63% (Germany 16%, UK 10%, Italy 9%, Spain 9%, Belgium-Luxembourg 8%), US 7% (1998)

Imports: $280.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Imports - commodities: crude oil, machinery and equipment, chemicals; agricultural products

Imports - partners: EU 62% (Germany 17%, Italy 10%, Belgium-Luxembourg 8%, UK 8%, Spain 7%), US 9% (1998)

Debt - external: $117.6 billion (1996 est.)

Currency: Euro (EUR) since January 1st, 1999 for all financial transactions, Euro_banknotes and Euro_coins were introduced January 1st, 2002. Previously was the French Franc (FRF), the official exchange rate was fixed at 6.55957 French Francs per Euro.

Fiscal year: calendar year

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