The restrictions were weaker than in the spring, activity logically slowed down less quickly during the second confinement this fall. In his last conjuncture note, INSEE observed an 11% decline in economic activity in Hauts-de-France in November. The drop was 30% in April, during the first confinement. The accommodation and food services, personal services and transport sectors were more severely affected.
This significant slowdown is also reflected in the electricity consumption figures of businesses in the region. In November, it fell by 10% against -25% in April. In the third quarter of 2020, activity therefore returned to an almost normal level. This is evidenced by the volume of paid hours, which is almost similar to that of 2019 over the same period. It was the highest in the Pas-de-Calais department. The construction sector, almost at a standstill during the first confinement, is the one that has resumed the most intensely.
Reconfinement: fall in economic activity in November, but less severe than in spring
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The number of job creation is also on the rise, both in the public and in the private sector (+ 1.8%). In particular, the temporary employment sector has exploded, much more than elsewhere in France, with a 29% increase in the number of temporary employment in the region. “The interim is a very good indicator in the region, it had completely collapsed during the first confinement in particular“, explains Delphine Léglise, deputy head of the Studies and Diffusion service at INSEE Hauts-de-France.
We see that as soon as the restrictions are lifted, activity resumes quickly and significantly – Delphine Léglise, Insee
Regarding partial unemployment, here again the situation almost returned to normal at the end of 2020. In September, only 1.5% of the region’s employees remained in partial activity, mainly in the catering and accommodation sector. In April, this rate could reach 25%.
Significant recovery of business creations
In the midst of all these rather expected figures, there are others that surprise. Those concerning the creation of companies for example. In November 2020, there were 24% more business creations in the region compared to 2019. Between September and November, the majority of businesses created were in the trade, transport, accommodation and catering sectors (61%), essentially linked to the development of home delivery services.
“There is also a lag effect, entrepreneurs who postponed the creation of their business because of the first confinement“, explains Grégory Ssez, Managing Director of BGE Hauts-de-France, a support network for entrepreneurs.
The other explanation is that any crisis gives rise to the vocations of entrepreneurs, either people who want to change course, or unemployed people who see business creation as a solution – Grégory Ssez, CEO of BGE Hauts-de-France
It should be noted, however, that business start-ups, even micro-enterprises, were more important in Hauts-de-France than in the rest of the country. In total, nearly 11,000 companies were created in the third quarter of 2020 in Nord and Pas-de-Calais.
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