Employment, a major player in the reconstruction of the economy

In Nouvelle Aquitaine, the number of jobseekers is down overall in the quarter of 2020. Indeed, it can be seen that the number of category A jobseekers, that is to say, unemployed persons, required to perform positive acts of job search, looking for a job regardless of the type of contract is 306,050. This figure indicates a decrease of 13.3% or 49,910 fewer people. However, it increased by 8.9% compared to the previous year. If we count all categories of jobseekers, the number of jobseekers is 522,540 for the third quarter. In other words, the number also fell by 1.1% but again increased by 4.4% compared to the previous year. These nuanced reports are related to the uncertain COVID-19 situation. They evolve according to the rhythms of confinement and deconfinement.

With the sharp rise in unemployment following the Covid-19 crisis,Pôle Emploi faces a much greater challenge than in 2008. However, employment is one of the major factors in the economic recovery. Beyond an indicator of good economic health, it has a reactivating role. With confidence, purchasing power and competitiveness, employment is more important than ever as a key element in the fight against the crisis. Today, more than just a short-term revival, it is also an opportunity for states to review their copy in terms of priority. A way to build on sustainable growth and respond to the major challenges of the century such as the environment or the place of the human being.

Employment centre, on the front line to combat the impact of Covid on employment

In this context, the Employment Centre and the initiatives of the State occupy key positions, implying not to lose sight of the objectives. Just like to become fully aware of the imperatives and power that good decisions can have. And for good reason, the unemployment figures of the last few months as well as the forecasts for the coming quarters are alarmist as well as rational. For example, as of June, Unédic, the body in charge of the unemployment insurance scheme on behalf of Pôle Emploi, announced the loss of 900,000 jobs by the end of 2020 compared to 2019. This would represent nearly 630,000 additional job seekers to be compensated (1). Figures also corroborated by studies by the OECD, the Bank of France and the government.

At the same time, this increase in the unemployment rate is helping to widen the unemployment insurance deficit significantly. For example, Unédic forecasts a loss of 25.7 billion euros by the end of 2020. In detail, total spending on unemployment insurance would increase by 17.7 billion euros, representing an increase of 43% compared to 2019. The rise in unemployment also has another effect on the unemployment insurance budget. Fewer employees are less likely to receive social security contributions. Also, Unédic’s revenues are expected to fall by 16%. (1)

To cope with the massive influx of new unemployed, Pôle Emploi is launching an extensive recruitment campaign. Hundreds of jobs in CDD between 9 and 18 months are to be filled. Moreover, these recruitments specifically target the profiles most affected by unemployment, namely the least educated. Rapid action to speed up the return to work. However, let us put an end to the approximate theories: this decision does not have the power to drastically reduce the unemployment rate. It is acting as a reinforcement of a more comprehensive strategy.

recruitment through Jobcentre and training of the unemployed and young people for new skills
Employment should have a role in skills development and employability in promising industries.

Confidence at the heart of the economic recovery

The more or less rapid and efficient success of economic recovery depends on many factors. In the context of Covid-19, it depends first of all on the risk of a new wave. For good reason, having lived hard in confinement, consumers and businesses are struggling to be confident. This trust is, however, the nerve of war because it has an immediate impact on consumption and production. Thus, economic recovery relies heavily on the relevance and responsiveness of government initiatives. (2)

Laurence Boone, chief economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shares the recovery forecast. These show that the easing of containment measures has helped to revive the economy. However, this does not prevent a loss of $7 billion compared to the November 2019 forecast.

OECD economic scenarios and outlook in September 2020
OECD economic outlook for September 2020. Source: OECD, “Economic Outlook, Intermediate Report, Living with Uncertainty,” 16 September 2020
Comparison of the OECD's economic outlook between June and September 2020
Comparison of the OECD economic outlook in June (blue lines) and September (pink lines). Source: OECD, “Economic Outlook, Intermediate Report, Living with Uncertainty,” 16 September 2020

In particular, it calls on states not to repeat the budgetary management errors of the 2008 crisis. According to the OECD, this means continuing to support economic activity and not cutting short budget support. In particular, it recalls that in 2008, it was precisely the period of austerity that arrived quickly after the crisis that put the lead in the resurgant economic activity.

In addition to these cyclical elements, it is often in the development of employability that states will find salvation. Thus, Pôle Emploi, like other employment and training aid agencies, must renew themselves to work in concert with the government’s stimulus policy.

Investing in green recovery, environmental and employment sustainability

We missed the mark in 2008 but the current crisis offers us a second chance toinvest in a green recovery. And for good reason, if starting from the most beautiful is important, it is better to do it intelligently. Thus, it is an opportunity for countries to promote change, to prioritize investments that have been aside for many years in the digital world and the environment.

On the other hand, when it comes to the environment, global containment has given great life lessons. Lower CO2 emissions, improved water quality, reduced air pollution have faced poor waste management, especially medical ones, and the consequences of human interference on biodiversity. While these findings are not yet sustainable enough to reverse the ozone destruction situation, they join a multitude of studies and barometers that make a significant link between better public health and improved productivity as well as disease-related costs (3). Arguments that should finally be able to resonate on both sides of the debates around capitalism.

However, the OECD does not fail to point out that the emergency rescue measures taken by the various countries are still failing to go in this direction. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the G20 countries have devoted 47% of their support to fossil fuels and only 39% to clean energy. For the OECD, this finding is “revealing a certain inertia of the system, a lack of understanding of sustainable growth factors and a lack of information on sustainable development alternatives”. It is also a way of pinpointing gaps in training and return to work. Issues that Pôle Emploi could have a role to address.

engineer trained as an Employment Centre to develop green energy skills in the economic sectors that are promising
Employment, develop the employability of the most affected populations: young people, women and the least educated.

Employment, a role to play in training and skills development

Currently, the economic measures put in place are more concerned with tax relief, the introduction of bonuses or loans, the allocation of grants in research and development… In total, very few measures have targetedthe acquisition of skills. Yet the human and the qualified are the key to the success of the transition. Moreover, these are elements that have no alternative. According to Laurence Boone, however, training is one of the shortcomings of France. So one more reason to take the problem head-on. And to capitalize on the role of the Employment Centre in terms of employability.

Thus, rebuilding an economy involves identifying promising sectors. In that sense, it also creates jobs. It should also be noted that the populations hardest hit by unemployment are the youngest and the least skilled (2). The development of a whole new part of the economy is then an opportunity to invest in the human, to train the unemployed in the trades of the future. As an employment manager and training funder, therefore has a place to take in this sustainable transition.

According to IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, it is estimated that renewable energy could account for more than 40 million jobs by 2050. Energy, at the heart of daily needs, already employs about 58 million people. They could be 100 million by the middle of the century. In addition, green energy creates rapid jobs. As a result, 2.5 million new employees a year could be introduced under the stimulus strategies (3). The OECD already identifies skills shortages in key sectors as a major obstacle. As an intermediary of choice, the Employment Centre therefore seems to be well-advised to enforce the government’s strategic guidelines on training and job creation.

Sources:

(1) Unedic, June 2020 Financial Forecast

(2) OECD, “Economic Outlook, Intermediate Report, Living with Uncertainty,” 16 September 2020

(3)

“This is one of the key lessons learned from the review of measures deployed after the 2008 global financial crisis. Integrating environmental sustainability and socio-economic equity into public policy is important to mitigate the regressive effects of environmental policies, to provide a fair opportunity for all to contribute to and reap the benefits of economic growth.” – OECD, Putting Green Recovery at the Service of Jobs, Incomes and Growth, 14 September 2020

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