Despite the gradual improvement in the economic situation next year, many companies will continue to use the partial unemployment scheme, at a cost that could reach 10 billion euros, estimates the OFCE in a note published Friday. For 2021, the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures (OFCE) forecasts a rebound in gross domestic product (GDP) of 7.1%, after a recession of 9.5% this year.
But, if this rebound may seem “spectacular, it hides still significant losses of activities at the end of 2021”, warns the OFCE. Thus, in the last quarter of 2021, GDP will still be 1.4% below its pre-crisis level, despite the stimulus plan planned by the government. But it will be much more in the sectors, which will remain constrained due to the maintenance of health rules, such as restaurants, cultural activities or shops.
900 million hours of partial activity planned for next year
Thus, many companies will continue to mobilize short-time work to reduce their costs while avoiding laying off their employees. In volume, this would still represent around 900 million hours of partial activity next year, for “an amount of compensation of 10 billion euros borne by the State and Unédic”, anticipates the OFCE, after a total of nearly 2,700 hours this year and nearly 30 billion euros mobilized.
The Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne has also announced the maintenance until the end of January of the current conditions for partial unemployment compensation. In particular, 100% support by the State for the sectors most affected by the crisis. At this point, the government has budgeted 6.5 billion euros for short-time work next year. This device, the most costly for public finances since the start of the crisis, has prevented an even greater surge in unemployment this year.
In 2020, salaried employment would have contracted by 790,000 jobs compared to the last quarter of 2019, according to the OFCE, which estimates that 793,000 job cuts will be reached by the end of 2021, still compared to the pre-crisis level. . In particular, business bankruptcies, so far contained by public support, could lead to the destruction of 180,000 jobs next year. These job cuts would be more numerous in industry, where the productivity gains to be made are the most important. In total, at the end of 2021, the unemployment rate would rise to 10.6%, after 9.5% at the end of 2020.