French manufacturing base is contracting rapidly as a result of crisis

Despite all the protests and demands that government do something to save jobs, French manufacturing is going through the most severe period of de-industrialization in four decades with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

Someday, when the full history of this era is written, the banking crisis of 2008 and the euro zone debt crisis will probably be seen as a seamless whole. The one leading into the other, the way the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi.

A report in this week's edition of French news magazine, Les Echos makes the point. It looks at the accelerated de-industrialization of France since 2009. Close to 900 factories have shut down in the last three years with 100,000 manufacturing jobs going with them. A third of those jobs went in the automobile industry. 2012 is expected to see the trend continue.

The last time France went through such a spasm of de-industrialization was in 1973, following the Oil Price shock of 1973.

As Bruce Springsteen wrote in another time and context, "Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back."