It's standard practice in news stories to refer to France's economy as a basket case. The NYT went this route in an article on President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to rewrite the country's labor laws.

The article refers to Macron's efforts to "revitalize" the French economy and then tells readers:

"The code is regarded by many as the wellspring of the country’s malaise and the chief obstacle to generating jobs, leaving the country with an unemployment rate that hovers persistently around 10 percent."

Of course, many economists regard the German government's insistence on austerity in spite of low interest rates and low inflation as "the wellspring of the country’s malaise," but apparently there was no room to mention this fact. Anyhow, it is worth noting that while France has a considerably higher unemployment rate than the United States a larger portion of its prime-age population (ages 25 to 54) have jobs than in the United States.

According to the OECD, the employment-to-population ratio for this age group is 79.6 percent in France, compared to 78.2 percent in the United States. For this age group, the French economy is doing better producing jobs than the U.S. economy, in spite of its malaise.

It does have lower employment rates for younger and older workers, but this is largely the result of deliberate policy. A college education is largely free in France, and as a result, few students work. France also has a more generous social security system than the United States, which discourages older workers from staying in the labor force. It's arguable whether these are good policies but it is these policies, rather than the state of the economy, that explain differences in employment rates between the U.S. and France for these age groups.

The piece also includes this interesting paragraph:

"The Macron changes would help employers set the rules on hiring and firing, ignore the crippling restraints in the code that discourage taking on new workers, and limit unions’ ability to get in the way. Instead, individual agreements would be negotiated at the company or industry level between bosses and workers."

It is interesting that NYT thinks that unions "get in the way" between workers and employers. This is, of course, true just as when we allow defendants to have lawyers, the lawyer "gets in the way" of discussions between police and prosecutors and the accused.