Temporary work: a difficult start to 2021

Temporary work is experiencing a complex situation with the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting all sectors of activity. A general decline in all regions clearly demonstrates the fragility of some professions, and conversely the rise in power of others. The pandemic, lockdowns and curfews are affecting the results of companies, and also their workforce, more particularly on temporary employment contracts such as temporary work. How can this situation be resolved, when France is only beginning to revive the activity of sectors that are suffering?

Temporary work, a type of reputable contract

In January 2021, 620,851 people benefited from a temporary employment contract, or an interim permanent contract. Compared to the same period in January 2020, this represents 32,000 fewer jobs, a net decrease of 4.9% in full-time equivalent contracts. This is already a revealing observation regarding the direct impacts of the pandemic on work, all sectors of activity combined.

If we look in more detail at the main sectors of activity, it is easy to see that some sectors are emerging… And are even gaining momentum, as is the case with the logistics and transport. Indeed, between January 2020 and January 2021, the sector saw an increase in its temporary work workforce of 8.8%. This is explained in particular by the rise of e-commerce during the lockdown period, when non-essential businesses could not open.

transport truck logistics
Logistics is one of the few sectors to grow in 2021.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, marked by the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020, this sector has been driving new professions, and helping to boost entire sectors. On the other hand, other sectors are not so fortunate, and are experiencing a significant decrease in their temporary employment contracts. Services and trade, for example, experienced a decline of -5.6% and -11.4% respectively in their workforce.

In February 2021, the finding continues. Logistics continues to grow, but at a slower pace than the previous month (1.1% compared to February 2020). In January 2021, the number of temporary employment contracts was already falling sharply. An even larger drop in February 2021, to -8.4%. The tightening of health measures also justifies these poor results, the country is still at the heart of the health crisis… Which then tends to become an economic crisis.

In the regions, temporary work is evolving at its own pace

The overall trends in temporary work in France in all sectors are generally declining. Apart from a few sectors that are growing, the vast majority are experiencing health constraints and lockdowns. But if we look at the situation region by region, the disparities are more marked.

For example, in France as a whole, two regions are experiencing slight growth. Hauts-de-France (+0.4%) and the Centre Val de Loire (+0.3%) continue to recruit temporary employment contracts… While the Île de France is the most affected region in January 2021 with a decrease of -14.2% in the number of jobs in this category. In February 2021, the region remains the most impacted, with a gap that is widening further, at -17.8% compared to February 2020.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine is also experiencing a decrease in the number of temporary employment contracts, but less than the Île de France. A decrease of -3.9% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, then of -7.4% in February 2021 compared to February 2020. The greater region relies on key sectors, impacted by the health crisis. We can talk about services and trade in particular.

Trade sale shop store
Trade is suffering from lockdowns and curfews.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine accounts for 7.9% of French temporary contracts, which has 46,060 full-time equivalent contracts across the country. But how is the activity evolving in the region, sector by sector?

Unsurprisingly, as for general trends, transport is experiencing a significant increase of +23.2% compared to January 2020. Trade, impacted by health closures, recorded a decline of -9.3%, followed by services (-5.3%) and construction (-4.6%). Three sectors that play an essential role in the regional economy.

The neo-Aquitaine departments divided

New Aquitaine is the largest region in France. But what is the situation of temporary work in the different departments? Which ones are doing best, and on the contrary, which ones are experiencing the most difficulties?

In January 2021, the departments experiencing growth in their temporary employment contracts are Creuse and Corrèze, with growth of 10% and 7% respectively. They remain the most dynamic in the region in February 2021, with growth of 8.9% and 7.6% respectively.

On the other hand, the departments that destroy the most contracts because they cannot use them properly are charente maritime and gironde in January; with a decrease of -10% and -6.5%. In February 2021, gironde experienced the largest decline with -13.3%, followed by landes with -13%. Will the revival of activity help to find positive trends for the different territories?


Prism’emploi barometers. Press release published on April 15, 2021

Nouvelle-Aquitaine – Prism Prism’Emploi

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