The British magazine is calling France “the time-bomb at the heart of Europe” in its 14-page "special report", published on Friday.
Subtitled, “Why France could become the biggest danger to Europe’s single currency", the report warns “the crisis could hit as early as next year”.
Arnaud Montebourg, the Socialist government’s minister for reviving production, compared the Economist to a French satirical cartoon magazine.
“These are the kind of caricatures worthy of Charlie Hebdo because frankly The Economist has never been distinguished for its sense of moderation,” Montebourg told Europe 1 on Friday.
“It’s the Charlie Hebdo of the City,” he said, referring to London’s financial district.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Thursday night denounced the magazine, which uses the image of several baguettes being wired like a bomb on its cover, for being excessive.
French business leaders were also unhappy with what is being referred to as “French-bashing” by The Economist.
Laurence Parisot, president of Medef, the major employers’ group in France, said the title of the magazine's report was “completely exaggerated”.
Parisot told RMC that one aspect of the magzine’s coverage was correct.
France is at the heart of Europe “and if France collapses all of Europe will collapse”, she said.
But Parisot said The Economist is out of touch because it appears the articles critical of France were written before the Hollande government accepted the Gallois report by bringing in measures to encourage productivity in the country.
The latest offensive from The Economist comes after the internationally respected journal accused the French of being in “denial” during the March presidential election campaign.