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Comparing Government economic responses to COVID-19: short-time work and size of stimulus package matter most


Research published today by the Adecco Group compares twelve countries in dealing with the labour market and economic consequences of the pandemic:

  • Size of the stimulus package and effective implementation of short-time work programmes have the largest positive impact
  • Switzerland, Sweden and Germany show the most favourable economic indicators
  • This research covers Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA
  • Based on the report findings five recommendations have been made

Zürich, Switzerland, Jun 3, 2020 

Having analysed the macroeconomic indicators of 12 countries, those that have been quickest to introduce large stimulus packages and effectively implement employee support measures have been most successful in mitigating the labour market and economic damage caused by COVID-19.

Switzerland, Sweden and Germany show the most favourable economic forecast. Their recipe is based on utilising short-time work schemes as well as a sizeable economic stimulus (up to 10% of GDP in Switzerland and 8% of GDP in Germany).

The countries with less positive indicators are Spain and the UK. Spain is predicted to experience the steepest drop in its GDP rate while the UK ranks amongst the worst in terms of unemployment, which is expected to almost double compared to pre-crisis levels.

Bettina Schaller, the Head of Group Public Affairs at the Adecco Group and author of the report commented:

“As countries begin to emerge from the worst effects of the pandemic, a picture of those that have been successful in mitigating the labour market and economic impact is appearing. In broad terms, countries that responded more quickly with economic support and helped employees stay in the work process as much as possible are showing better prospects.”

Recommendations to mitigate the COVID-19 impact

Based on the report findings policy-makers are advised to consider the following points:

  1. Be responsive: countries that have reacted swiftly and put in place an economic stimulus package have fared best
  2. Support employment: short-time work and other similar schemes helped keep people in work and avoid mass lay-offs
  3. Keep up the economic activity: every week without economic activity exponentially increases the negative impact, reducing the potential for economic recovery
  4. Cooperation of decision-makers: countries with a model of social dialogue based on negotiation rather than confrontation, show better results and higher trust in the political process and consumer confidence
  5. Focus on driving the financial support to beneficiaries: businesses and workers in many countries are yet to receive the promised support as outlined in the respective stimulus packages.

Download the full report here

This research covers Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA

For further information please contact:

The Adecco Group Press Office

media@adeccogroup.com or +41 (0) 44 878 87 87

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Twitter: @AdeccoGroup

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