French jobless total at new record high

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French lawyers, notaries and bailiffs attend a national protest against a government reform plan to deregulate their profession in Paris, 10 December 2014.Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has sparked anger with his deregulation plans

The number of people seeking work in France has risen to a record high, official figures show.

The jobless total rose by 27,400 in November to 3,488,300 - the highest level yet seen.

That means the number looking for a job has risen by 5.8% in the past year.

The claimant count rose in November for the third month in a row, and official government estimates suggest the economy will have grown by just 0.4% this past year.

The jobless figures count the number of people claiming benefits and looking for work with the National Agency for Unemployment.

The alternative international measure of unemployment, devised by the International Labour Organisation and based on a regular survey, says that unemployment in France rose to 2.84 million in the third quarter of the year, giving an unemployment rate of 9.9%.

President Francois Hollande, elected in 2012, made the creation of more jobs a key feature of his election campaign.

He recently stated that if he failed in this aim, he would not stand again in the 2017 presidential elections.

The latest attempt to rouse the economy from stagnation and to create more jobs was announced earlier in December.

The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, and the Economy Minister, Emmanuel Macron, outlined plans that included increasing the number of businesses operating on Sundays, and opening up regulated sectors, such as certain professions, to competition.

It is not obvious this strategy would succeed in reviving the economy, even if implemented fully.

The deregulation plan produced immediate protests by thousands of people in Paris and faces opposition from within the ruling Socialist Party.

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