This week’s issue of The Economist notes the following:
As a share of GDP, France spends more on social protection than any other member of the OECD rich-country club (see chart). Its mandatory unemployment-insurance system pays the French jobless a gravity-defying maximum of €71,760 ($102,500) a year, depending on previous salary, for as long as two years. Thanks to such generosity, France has one of the lowest poverty rates in the OECD, with only 7% of the population on below half of median income. But it comes at a cost: as a share of GDP, public spending is now higher even than in Sweden.
As of 2008, 7.7 percent of French workers were members of labor unions, below the 11.9 percent in the United States.