Macron favours the euro, free trade and globalisation. Le Pen has described the run-off with Macron as a referendum on "uncontrolled globalisation".
Economic discontent has been a major motivator for voters during the French presidential campaign.
The two candidates have very different backgrounds and approaches.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister, is in favour of the euro, free trade and globalisation.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National, wants to return to the franc as part of withdrawing France from the European Union and has described the run-off with Macron as a referendum on “uncontrolled globalisation”.
Le Pen presents herself as an anti-establishment defender of French workers and French interests against global corporations and an economically constricting EU.
As far back as 2011 she was proclaiming the euro to be dead saying that it must be accepted it was not viable.
The main French employers group MEDEF, while it has criticised some of Macron’s polices, has called Le Pen’s strategies “stupid, absurd and dangerous.”
Her promises include dramatic cuts in the public deficit, boosting economic growth, a 10 percent tax on non-French workers and three percent import tariffs.
After the first round of voting, MEDEF chief Pierre Gattaz was asked about a possible Le Pen victory and replied: “I dare not imagine this scenario, it would be really catastrophic.”
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) April 24, 2017
Macron has much broader financial targets.
His plans include 50 billion euros of public investment over the five years of the presidency for things like training and infrastructure as well as modernising and streamlining public administration.
During a campaign speech in February he said: “We will protect individuals but we must be a land of freedom for innovation and creation, because that’s in our DNA.”
He promises to lower France’s budget deficit below the EU-mandated three percent of GDP, cut business tax from the current 33 percent to 25 percent and over the next five years reduce public spending by 60 billion euros and slash the jobless rate from 10 to seven percent.
If he wins, Macron faces big challenges including getting broad popular support for further labour reforms. His previous reforms, which were pushed through when he was economy minister in the Socialist government, sparked angry protests.
To get their policies enacted either candidate, if elected, would have to secure a working majority during parliamentary elections due in June.