Which departments have managed to reverse the unemployment curve?

• Unemployment: the North and Mediterranean departments hit hard

France surrounded by unemployment? The French departments most heavily affected are located at the ends of the Hexagon. In the North, in the Pas-de-Calais (13% against 10% nationally), the North (12.8%) and the Aisne (14%) but especially in the South, all along the Mediterranean coast. It is in the Eastern Pyrenees that the unemployment rate is the highest in France (15.5%) but neighboring departments are not really left out: 14.1% of the active population is unemployed in the Aude. , 14.5% in the Hérault …

We are far from the good results of Lozère (5.9%), located just a little further north but whose economy is driven by a very dynamic associative sector and agriculture, or the Mayenne (6.7 %) and Yvelines (7.3%). “In terms of local employment, there is no real rule, notes Olivier Bouba-Olga, an economist at the University of Poitiers. Urban departments can be dynamic in terms of employment as not at all. Finally, the factor that most strongly determines the performance of local employment … This is the health of the labor market in the last ten years. Inertia is very strong.

Last year, some departments did better than others, and they are not always the best. If the Eastern Pyrenees and the Aube have sunk into the crisis (the unemployment rate has increased by 0.6 points in these two departments), the Somme, the Pas-de-Calais, the North and the Ardennes are, On the other hand, they managed to reverse the so-called “unemployment curve” despite initially high rates. In all these departments, however, it was up again in the last quarter …

• Debt: Corrèze, the worst student in France

More than 32 billion! This is the amount in euros of the accumulated debt of the 101 French departments. A figure up 3.3% compared to 2013, according to the 2014 primitive budgets published by the Ministry of the Interior. Thirty years ago, the outstanding amount was close to 6 billion … “With the low road density, departments must undertake major work, says Olivier Régis, public finance economist and deputy chairman of the Forum for the management of cities and local authorities. Mountain departments will suffer. ” Except that the departments do not seem ready to put their hand in their pockets. After having increased by more than 6% per year between 2000 and 2009, departmental spending has slowed considerably in the past six years. “We have just enough money to cover operating expenses,” explains Jean-Pierre Balligand, chairman of the local government funding steering committee. For the rest, the responsibility lies with the cities. For projects in rail or digital, we are ready to invest. ”

Among the departments, two are distinguished: the Corrèze and Paris. The first, because it is the most indebted department of France. A shame for François Hollande who was, for seven years (2001-2008), the mayor of Tulle – prefecture of Corrèze – and for four years, president of the General Council of Corrèze (2008-2012). The Limousin department has the highest debt in France: 1448 euros per inhabitant! That’s triple the national average (483 euros). “The debt mainly exploded between 2004 and 2008 because of the work was undertaken to renovate the infrastructure and the departmental threshing, explains Olivier Régis. But since 2011, it has stabilized and the department is starting to pay back. According to the original 2014 budgets of the departments published by the Ministry of the Interior, its reimbursement rate has increased by more than 5%. Like 75 of the other 100 departments!

Conversely, Paris shows … no debt! A peculiarity due to its status: Paris is both a department and a municipality, the debt of the department is housed at the level of the City which is indebted to the tune of 3.6 billion euros, or about 1600 euros per capita ( Intramural). “Unlike other departments, Paris has a capacity for debt, self-financing and tax revenue collection incommensurate,” said the economist. In 2016, the co-author of the book “To really end with the territorial millefeuille” (Editions l’Archipel) expects an increase in local taxes in Paris, one of the departments where the tax is the lowest. With historically low borrowing rates, greater reliance on borrowing could also be considered.

• Local taxes: significant tax revenues for Ile-de-France

The local taxes taken into account here comprise four criteria which constitute the main resources of the departments: the contribution on the value added of the companies (CVAE), the flat tax on the companies of networks (Ifer), the property tax on the building and transfer duties for consideration (DMTO), better known as notary fees. The departments have no power over the CVAE and Ifer rates set by the government as part of the Finance Bill. The housing tax is not included in the calculation because it is cashed on behalf of the municipality where the house and possibly the group of municipalities to which it belongs.

The highest tax revenues are collected in Hauts-de-Seine (445 euros/inhabitants), Haute-Garonne (435 euros) and Seine-Maritime (433 euros). Conversely, it is in Mayotte – a department with special status that benefits from major endowments of the metropolis – they are the least important (25 euros per capita), followed by Paris (104 euros) and Reunion ( 150 euros). “The most important resource being the CVAE, the departments with the largest tax revenues are those where there are the most companies,” says Anne Bouillot, Finance Advisor of the Assembly of French Departments. The Hauts-de-Seine, where the business district of La Défense is located, is favored. The Ile-de-France is favored as a whole: “You should know that 8 departments in the region alone concentrate 30% of the product of the CVAE,” recalls Anne Bouillot. But the presence of companies alone does not explain the high level of revenue from local taxes. In Seine-Saint-Denis, the poorest department in France, they climb to 404 euros. “This department plays on the levers of property tax and DMTO to finance social expenses, including RSA, which are important,” says the specialist.

Overall, 2014 was marked by a relative stability of taxation in the departments -elections oblige- even if almost all raised the rate of transfer taxes from 3.8% to 4.5%. “This helps to accentuate the differences between departments, notes Anne Bouillot. In fact, those with sluggish real estate markets and high social spending benefit less from the situation than wealthier departments where real estate is dynamic and social spending is lower. ” This year, the departments must manage the decline in government endowments in a complicated economic context. “Departments have the choice between raising taxes – even if they can only play on two levers, which is not enough to lower social spending. But in the long term, both solutions are not viable, “warns Anne Bouillot.