Labor

France's Labor Rules Stifle Business Growth

It's better to stay small than to hire employees you can't fire

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Europe needs jobs, and French entrepreneur Daniel Joutard wants to create them, hiring more employees for his skin-care products company. Yet he can't take the risk—in large part because of France's inflexible workplace protections.

The 37-year-old is among thousands of small- and medium-size business owners who will be crucial to helping France—like other countries in Europe—reduce a double-digit jobless rate, and ultimately shrink its hefty state budget deficit by bringing in more tax revenues.