French unemployement dips for first time since 2011

French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. File.
French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. File. AFP/ Frank Perry

France's unemployment rate fell in the fourth quarter of 2013, for the first time since April 2011, according to the national statistics institute, Insee, but part of the drop is due to a change in methods of calculation.


The French jobless rate dipped 0.1 point to 9.8 per cent in mainland France, Insee's latest figures showed.

"Unemployement is going down," said Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on RMC-BFMTV on Thursday.

"Youth unemployment went down 85,000 in one year," he added. "Unemployment is still much too high but it started to go down in the last quarter, as it did in the rest of Europe."

But another employment indicator appeared to contradict the latest figure.

Job claims, registered at the national employment agency Pôle Emploi, increased by 5,000 a month in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 8,900 in January 2014.

Insee revised its data with a new questionnaire and said that it reduced the rate by 0,5 point.

The labour ministry denies any involvement in the change of method.

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