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FRANCE

France’s economy improves in third quarter

Euro cent coins
Euro cent coins Wikimedia Commons

Economic growth in France expanded by 0.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 according to the national statistics agency on Friday. Economists say the figures suggest France’s economic outlook is improving.

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France’s economy will grow “by at least 1.1 per cent” for 2015, Finance Minister Michel Sapin told AFP on Friday, adding that he believes France has “exited the period of extremely weak growth that lasted for too long”.

In other words, even if France’s economy achieves zero growth in the fourth quarter, the growth domestic product will rise by 1.1 per cent for 2015 as a whole.

“It likely means a faster growth next year,” said Sapin. At present the government’s official forecast for 2016 is for the economy to expand by 1.5 per cent.

For the third quarter domestic consumption helped to prop up the growth (+0.3% after 0.0% in second quarter). At the same time expenditure on energy rebounded (+1.6% after –2.1%), especially in gas and electricity. Consumption of services increased moderately (+0.2% as in the previous quarter). Also job creation in non-farm market sectors increased (+ 14,900 jobs or + 0.1 per cent from July to September 2015).

Employment in competitive sectors has increased by 0.3 per cent (+ 49,200 jobs) over the last 12 months.

“Our economy is back on track,” said Sapin. He however admitted the growth is still too low to bring down the high level of unemployment. Most economists estimate that below 1.5 per cent growth rate, job creations are not sufficient to accommodate the growing labour force and reverse the unemployment trend.

By late September one person in 10 had no job in France.

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