How do people more established in their careers in France view this law, that would have allowed employers to 'try before they buy' prospective younger employees?
General consensus is that the law wasn't good. This law was tailored for so called "MacJobs" (low wage, hard jobs) and didn't pleased that much employers. As an employer, I wouldn't want to hire some youngsters (engineers, programmers), train them for some months, and see them go away as soon as they're beginning to get efficient and productive (because the law of course allowed the employer to fire anyone anytime, but it also allowed the employees to leave whenever they want).
It seems to me, sitting here (fairly ignorantly) in the US, that the 'entitlement mentality' evidenced by the protests and demonstrations against what appears to be a reasonable law will end up being very destructive to job growth.
Well, actually nobody really knows if protective work laws drag down job growth or not. There are no clear evidence in worldwide statistics that it really matters at all. For instance Canada had low protection and high unemployment, while Sweden had high protection and no unemployment.
Won't many companies simply relocate to find a more flexible workforce (perhaps with a lower price tag), leaving the youth of France with even fewer jobs? Am I missing something in this equation?
You can't relocate much services, anyway. Chinese can't ship your pizza in time, or clean your office at night :o) I actually believe this law would augment unemployment, here's why : right now, Pizza Hut, McDonalds and friends employ only part time employees. Why? Because this way, they are sure to keep their employees young, docile, and the turnover very high (because nobody but students or youngsters living at dad and mom's can live on a part-time minimum wage). This is the way they compensate for the job-protective laws : people will quit anyway, soon. But in case they could employ people full-time, then maybe they'd simply fire half their workforce, making unemployment actually higher than it is already.