For the Court of Auditors, public spending has helped contain unemployment in France

“Whatever the cost” has made it possible to contain the surge in unemployment, despite the imperfections of this protective shield. In a report made public Thursday, September 9, the Court of Auditors draws the “Operational report” of public spending during the Covid-19 crisis. Carried out at the request of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, this audit assesses – among other things – the effectiveness of decisions taken in the field of employment and vocational training: their impact has been globally “Favorable”, in the eyes of the high court, but people in fragile situations have taken less advantage of it.

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In the package of aid granted to employers, some have emerged “Attractive” and produced “Tangible results”. This is the case for the subsidies paid to companies which recruit apprentices. The number of contracts “Started in 2020” by this asset class has reached “A new level” : just over 525,000, an increase of 42% in one year, says the report. However, this surge “Done, in part, to the detriment” another system based, too, on the alternation between immersion in a company and lessons provided by a training organization: professionalization contracts, which are in sharp decline (- 48.4% in 2020). The downward trend was admittedly prior to the crisis, but it was “Accentuated in this new context”.

Launched in the summer of 2020, the hiring aid for people under the age of 26 has also aroused enthusiasm but the ” start-up “ proved ” slower “, with a rise in load which “Actually intervened” during the first quarter of 2021. By mid-June, nearly 384,000 bosses had touched it. However, the Court considers that we should not be carried away by these flattering figures: it recommends “Additional studies” to analyze the impact of these mechanisms on youth employment and their possible negative consequences. It is possible, for example, that companies have benefited from these subsidies, even though they would have taken on one or more apprentices anyway, even in the absence of support measures.

Powerful shock absorber role

Anxious to improve the skills of workers, the government seized on a tool that has existed for several years: the National Employment Fund, the FNE-formation. This has been revised in order to support companies going through a bad patch and who want to develop the skills of their workforce. Here again, the quantitative data looks good, with more than 360,000 individuals trained. But these actions “Have more widely benefited the most qualified employees, in sectors (…) less threatened than others ”, deplore the authors of the report. Thus, more than half of the financing has been allocated to tertiary companies “Potentially less weakened” by the crisis. At the same time, workers only represent “12% of beneficiaries” of the system, while their weight in the working population is higher (20%). In total, the FNE-training has a scope, at this stage, “Limited” and results in “Windfall effects”.

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