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Is it possible to reverse the trend in unemployment by the end of the year?

May 23 category:Economy
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Is it possible to reverse the trend in unemployment by the end of the year?



The competitiveness agreement signed in March, will curb job losses by maintaining the activity. An exception ...

AFP PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON



Who has not sworn, night New Year's Eve to return to sport, to toast his last cigarette and make more frequent visits to his old parents? Usually promises forgotten in the late frost, buried by the steamroller of everyday life. Fran├žois Hollande he was right to promise a reversal of the unemployment curve at the end of 2013, on the occasion of his wishes to the French on 31 December?

In late January, 3,169,000 of job seekers without work (Category A) were registered in France. And with the expected February figures Tuesday, we should record the 22nd consecutive increase for this category of unemployed. What may set a new record since the peak of 3.185 million unemployed in 1997.

While his detractors denounce a blatant lie, his supporters speak of courage and political will. Michel Sapin, Minister of Labour and one of the most trusted lieutenants of the head of state, continues to hammer the same message: "If we say that by the end of the year it is possible - not only desirable This is not a wish - to reverse the unemployment curve, we know that policies gradually bear fruit, "said he again recently. However, difficult to hide the brutality of statistics.

Since January 2012, the list of registered employment center has increased from 417 000 people. And the pace has accelerated since six months, with an average of 40,000 more unemployed each month. In total, counting the unemployed in training and those who accept a few hours of monthly job, France has about 5.2 million job seekers. Worse, the average time employment center for registration now reached four hundred and eighty days, a few short days away from the 1999 record.

Hiring is down

But the further away from the labor market, the higher the probability of finding a position consistent with its qualification is low. In the region of Lens, former industrial and mining bastion, Marc Lollivier, territorial director of employment center, says: "It is not as new registrations soar, but rather than outputs - in short, reversals Job - dramatically reduced. " The government can practice autosuggestion, we must be courageous to detect a sign of thawing short-term hires. In the interim, a good leading indicator of employment, staff always show a decrease of 20% year on year in the industry and 23% in the building.

Can we blame the companies continue to trim? While their order books are depleted, especially in industry, most bosses sail sight, eyes fixed on their financial dashboards. The medium-sized companies (ETI), these very large SMEs that France dream of growing up, are extremely fragile. In a recent study, two experts from Coface sounding the alarm: 45 ETI went bankrupt last year, almost as many as during the 2008-2009 recession. Peculiarity of the current period: it is the largest both in terms of turnover and workforce, which are today the key under the door. "Their margin fell to an average of only 28%, one of the lowest levels in Europe," laments Khalid Ait Yahia, an economist at Coface. First restore profitability and disclaim productivity gains: that's how you can decrypt the cascade of restructuring and job protection plans announced in recent months.

An impossible recovery and limited tools

Denis Ferrand, chief economist Rexecode, made his calculations: "If companies want to regain productivity growth before the crisis, we need a minimum of 1% growth in hope of net job creation in the sector Private. As the workforce continues to rise nearly 0.4% per year, the French economy will advance at a rate of 1.4% per year to see the decline in the unemployment curve. " Problem: no research institute only bet on such a level of expansion by the end of 2013.

So if salvation comes not from growth, can it come from politics? "It is not completely impossible," admits Eric Heyer, specializing in employment issues at the French Economic Observatory. Some 100 000 jobs of the future and 20,000 assisted contracts have been budgeted for 2013. Just over 10,000 jobs for the future have been signed so far. "The government could control the rise of the device for the package by year end. Such a winning strategy for public finances because the effect is really be felt on the accounts that in 2014", decrypts Eric Heyer.

Another lever: the law of security of employment, the government intends to vote at no charge. Keeping in employment agreements, which allow an ailing company to negotiate for a limited time reduced pay and working time against the commitment not to dismiss, could help limit the damage in some large companies. "This type of agreement worked perfectly in Germany at the height of the crisis, in 2008, with considerable media coverage," analyzes economist Francis Kramarz. Many very useful patches but will not illusion for long.

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