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confinement takes the long-term unemployed a little further away from returning to work

                We are talking about the suffering of students, employees, restaurant owners and even intermittent entertainment workers in the face of the health crisis and its economic repercussions.  But the period is also hard for the long-term unemployed, who represent almost half of the 6 million job seekers registered in France.  50.4% of them have been unemployed for a year or more, even before the start of the crisis caused by Covid-19.  And the succession of confinements further weakens their hope of finding work.

                                    <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>The association <strong>New Solidarity in the Face of Unemployment</strong> the remark</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> <span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>:</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> <span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>since March 2020, despair has set in among the job seekers she supports.  "</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> <span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><em>We created a toll-free number last May to replace Pôle Emploi, which was overwhelmed</em>, says Didier Lebret, volunteer at SNC and coordinator of the telephone platform created by the association. <em>Since then we must have saved around 1</em></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> <span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><em>000 calls, a third of which turned into support.</em></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> <span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>» </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>

What emerges from conversations often boils down to a feeling of resignation. “ The long-term unemployed believe that they are even worse off than before the crisis in the labor market, sums up Didier Lebret, who fears that some will completely give up looking for work and being supported. They tell themselves that those who have just lost their jobs will have an advantage over them, that employers will prefer the more ‘recent’ job seekers. »

A vicious circle

This is indeed one of the characteristics of long-term unemployment. : the longer the job search lasts, the more the chances of finding a job diminish, creating a sort of vicious circle. Maggie is well aware of this. Since losing her position as association director ten years ago, and despite the fifteen applications that she continues to send each month to carefully selected companies, she has still not found a job.

« After my dismissal, I was a caregiver for sick relatives, and I am happy that I did, she explains. But the problem is, when you haven’t worked for several years, recruiters consider you to be no longer competent, as if you haven’t done anything for that entire period. As I no longer work, it is considered that I am no longer good for the job market, it bites the tail. »

Also to listen: Household debt: the other Covid crisis?

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A complex situation, which the Covid-19 has further aggravated, observes Claire Vivès, sociologist at the Center for Employment and Labor Studies. “ The pandemic will have multiple effects, she analyzes. One of them will be the increase in unemployment, and since it is known that the long-term unemployed take longer to find a job than the more recently registered unemployed, their unemployment time will increase even further, even in recovery case. »

Half of the unemployed in France have been unemployed for a year or more

Especially since the Covid-19 accelerates the transformation of the labor market, which sometimes isolates the long-term unemployed even more. The generalization of teleworking plays against Maggie, for example. “ As I am 58 years old and I left the world of work ten years ago, she laments, it is assumed that I cannot telework, that I am not familiar with the tools. But I can learn and evolve, I spend my time training ! »

An observation confirmed by Claire Vivès. “ We tend to think of the job search as a queue, everyone waiting their turn, she presents. But it doesn’t work that way for everyone. » Among those unemployed in France, in categories A, B and C, nearly 50.4% have been unemployed for a year or more, according to latest figures published by Dares. The massive phenomenon has grown steadily since its appearance in the late 1970s. But it does not affect everyone in the same way.

Those most likely to see their job search drag on are the most vulnerable people. : few or no graduates, looking for a job as a worker or employee, in territories offering few job offers (sensitive urban or rural areas), aged 50 and over and having problems of health or disability, depending on a report of the Economic and Social Committee of June 2020. But behind the statistics, all social categories are concerned : among the 4 000 people supported each year by SNC, all profiles and all situations appear.

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Read also : Unemployment insurance in France: partial entry into force of the reform on July 1

Difficulties that pile up

Maggie, for example, has several diplomas, including a bac + 5 level. But this qualification still slows down its hiring, because it calls for levels of remuneration that put off companies. For this 58-year-old woman, the difficulties are piling up, despite her optimism and determination. “ I wouldn’t mind leaving eastern France for a more dynamic region, she asserts. But my movement is hampered by a housing problem : it is impossible for me to stay in a city with the 500 euros of aid per month that Pôle Emploi pays me. Even if I found a job, I would not be able to pay the rent in the first month, before receiving my first salary. »

Her job search is also disrupted by an unstable internet and telephone network, and by the lack of public transport near her home. : the train station closed. This limits her movements, and therefore the social and professional relationships that she could establish.

The accompaniment of the pair of volunteers from the SNC association nevertheless helps them to stay the course, thanks to the active listening procedures in which they have been trained. Because according to Didier Lebret, as soon as unemployment drags on one is long-term unemployed after one year of looking for a job, as defined by the International Labor Office isolation and loss of self-confidence set in, often to the point of causing health problems.

A pair of volunteers to support and listen

The association therefore provides job seekers with the support of a pair of volunteers, responsible for “coaching” them, with cover letters, CVs or social networks workshops, but above all, to listen to them and encourage them. « They support me, it allows me to think, to know that they are there to help me when I need it, it is a listening and a presence, Maggie says. But these devices are not well known, many things exist but the structures are often poorly coordinated with each other.. »

Among the people supported by SNC, 60% on average find a job after 9 months of follow-up. The initiative “ Zero long-term unemployed territory »Is also experimenting in several departments with the creation of permanent jobs, paid at the minimum wage and with social utility. But according to OFCE, 800 000 jobs disappeared in 2020 in France. And according to the International Labor Organization, worldwide, this is the equivalent of 255 million jobs in full-time jobs that were destroyed in 2020.


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