More Evidence France Is the New Sick Man of Europe

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from Bloomberg Businessweek,

Workers of automotive supplier Heuliez on the last day of work in Cerizay, France on Oct. 31

While Europe’s economic recovery is slowly gaining traction, France is sliding backwards.

That’s the inescapable conclusion about newly reported data on business activity, including a survey released today by Markit Economics showing that France’s service-sector output contracted sharply in December, to a six-month low. An earlier report showed a steep drop in French manufacturing activity during December as well.

Those figures, along with rising French unemployment claims, suggest that France may have “slid back into recession late last year,” says Markit’s chief economist, Chris Williamson.

Among the Continent’s four biggest economies, France is the only one where businesses reported declines in output and in new orders. “France now stands out as the sick man of Europe, because so many other countries have moved ahead,”

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