Unemployment insurance accounts are permanently in the green

Driven by the dynamism of the labor market and the compensation reform, Unedic expects positive figures until 2025.

Thomas Engrand

Posted update

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The number of unemployed people receiving benefits should drop from 2.44 million people over the past twelve months to 2.17 million in 2025. Jean-Christophe MARMARA/Le Figaro

It’s cautious optimism, but optimism nonetheless. After having ended the year 2022 in the green, for the first time since 2008, theunemployment insurance expects to maintain a surplus over the next three years. After 4.3 billion last year – a figure down slightly from November forecasts – Unedic’s projections are counting on a lower gain of 3.8 billion in 2023, before an acceleration in the following years, to reach 8.6 billion euros in 2025. A forecast which, if realized, would be a record “historical”underlines Jean-Eudes Tesson, the vice-president of the joint body, which manages the unemployment insurance scheme.

No triumphalism however on the part of Unedic. Even before congratulating herself on the figures, the first words of the president, Patricia Ferrand, were for “the great uncertainty that characterizes these anticipations”. The current economic situation, marked by high inflation, a moderate growth rate but a dynamism of the labor market never seen, calls for caution. The unknowns count twice on the job market side: a step aside, upwards or downwards, in relation to the scenario affects both expenditure (more or less people to be compensated), but also revenue (more or less contributions). This explains the significant variations in the organization’s budget. The latter thus went from a deficit of 17.4 billion in 2020, under the effect of the crisis Covidto a positive balance of 4.3 billion euros two years later.

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” READ ALSO – Unemployment insurance: a reform for full employment

The improvement in employment figures is the primary cause of the optimism displayed by Unedic. According to its forecasts, job creations should pick up again after a slight stagnation in 2023. They would not, however, approach the exceptional year that has just passed (+ 300,000 net job creations in 2022, against 6,000 planned in 2023 and 152,000 in 2025).

Another positive factor is the gradual ramping up of the 2021 unemployment insurance reform, which tightens the conditions of access. It now allows savings of around 2.2 billion euros per year.

The much-maligned reform of countercyclicality, which provides for a reduction in the duration of compensation by 25% if the unemployment rate is below 9%, will take several years to be felt in the accounts, but its impact will be significant. . It is estimated at 700 million euros in 2023, before gradually accelerating. In 2025, its contribution is thus estimated at 3 billion euros, and up to 4.5 billion euros in savings per year in 2027.

Reduce the organization’s debt

Faced with this dual combined effect of the job market and the reforms, the number of unemployed people receiving benefits should drop from 2.44 million people over the past twelve months to 2.17 million in 2025.

More “We are careful not to speak of a surplus. We will do it when the debt is zero”, underlines the vice-president, defending the principle that all of the profits collected are used to absorb the debt of the organization. The latter is indeed the black point of the picture. It still amounts to 55.5 billion euros in 2023. Even if Unedic’s forecasts turn out to be as good as expected, debt would still amount to 42.2 billion euros at the end of 2025. still far higher than before the crisis. Over the two years of the pandemic, unemployment insurance paid out around 18.4 billion euros to limit the effects of the sudden stoppage of the economy (via partial unemployment). A sum that Unedic continues to put aside in its accounts with the slim hope that the State will eventually take it back. The unions also intend to shoot this card during discussions on the reform of the governance of this organization, which will soon begin.

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SEE ALSO – EDF announces record debt for 2022

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