In the News

France / Struggling to get back to work

As Mr Hollande approaches the anniversary of his election next month, his approval ratings languish at a measly 27%. No president has fallen faster or further in the first year of office and no doubt it is unemployment that weighs on those poll figures.

With the economy stalled and the government planning some 60bn euros (£50.9; $78.2bn) in public spending cuts between now and 2017, the room for manoeuvre is small.

But Mr Hollande has done what he can to tackle unemployment and youth unemployment in particular. There have been generous subsidies for companies that hire employees aged between 16 and 25 for at least one year. As part of that programme they created so-called “generation contracts”.

Those small companies that hire young people, while still committing to keep an employee over 57 on the payroll, will win special subsidies. The scheme is supposed to ensure that older workers keep their jobs while passing on their skills and knowledge to younger talent.

The government hopes to sign half a million of these contracts over the next five years. It has even taken on 2,000 extra employees at the National Agency for Employment to help organise and encourage these kinds of contracts.

“You ask if I am still convinced we can reduce the rise in [unemployment] this year,” said Mr Hollande.

“It’s not a question of conviction. We will stick with the measures we have taken these past few months… but the reversal will not be seen before the end of this year.”

Looking abroad

That opinion is shared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. France will only start creating jobs if the economy begins to grow and in the last two quarters the economy has stagnated.

The right-wing opposition blames President Hollande’s tax policy for damaging investment and undermining confidence in the economy.

Mr Hollande is hoping that a 20bn-euro tax break for companies will offset some of that criticism while reducing the labour costs that have suffocated inward investment.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor

BBC

via BBC News – The struggle to get France working again.

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