PARIS : ''AID the employer, shield the job.'' France is a test case for its approach to the virus - induced downturn.

When France started shutting down a few weeks ago as the coronavirus marched relentlessly into the country, Dominique Paul feared disaster. His family's white-glove catering company, Groupe Butard. halted operations, putting 190 jobs at risk.

Edward Arkwright, the director general of Aeroports de Paris, the Paris airport operator, weighed how to preserve over 140,000 jobs when a freeze on most global airline traffic caused activity to fall 90 percent in a head-spinning days.

The future of both businesses, and hundreds of thousands more around France, spiraled into uncertainty. Instead of sinking, though, they are being thrown lifelines as the French government deploys a plan to shelter companies and keep workers employed.

''We're using the government's whole toolbox to get through this crises,'' Mr. Paul said, eyeing the company's empty Armenonville Pavilion on the edge Paris, where chefs and waiters had served delicacies like scallop carpaccio for glittering events. ''Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to keep up.''

As the coronavirus wallops the world economies, France is rapidly emerging as a test case for whether a country can hasten the recovery from a recession by protecting businesses from going under in the first place and avoiding mass unemployment.

In the United States, the coronavirus has already provoked millions of layoffs. While the $2.2 trillion rescue package signed by President Trump sends extensive relief to Americans workers and businesses, France and other European Union countries are deploying a more encompassing state-led approach in the event that the outbreak takes months, rather than weeks, to contain.

''There's a very different strategy in Europe than in the United States about how to mange this recession,'' said Patrick Artus, chief economist at the Paris-based Nataxis Bank. ''The idea is to have no layoffs or company closures, so that when the coronavirus is finally under control, the company can start right up.''

France is hoping to learn a lesson from the 2008 financial crisis, when it didn't take aggressive steps to support workers and businesses. Unemployment soon jumped to around 10 percent and stayed high for half a decade.

By contrast, the rise in joblessness in Germany, which kept companies from collapsing by subsidizing furloughs in a system known as Kurzarbeitergeld, or short-time work, lasted less than a year before falling steadily.

''France has decided that it is not going to make the same mistake with the coronavirus.'' said Simon Tilford, director of the Forum New Economy, a research institution in Berlin. ''That approach is going to be must less devastating.''

Austria, Denmark and other northern countries have similar policies, and Britain announced last month that it would do the same. And on Wednesday the European Commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen, said governments would join to support short-term work so that ''more people will keep their job'' during the current crisis.''

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on recession and coronavirus, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Lisa Abend.


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