French unemployment falls for first time in nine months

Job seekers inside a National Agency for Employment . File 2013
Job seekers inside a National Agency for Employment . File 2013 Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Unemployment in France fell by 0.3 per cent in August, the first drop in nine months.


The French jobless figure dropped in August from a record high reached in July, breaking a nine-month run of increases since October 2013.

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The labour ministry announced on Wednesday that unemploment stood at 3,41 million in August, 11,000 fewer than in July - down 0.3 per cent over one month but still up 5.2 per cent over a year.

"Monthly figures should be used with caution," said Labour Minister François Rebsamen in a statement but, he added, there "are encouraging signs".

Rebsamen said figures show that unemployment amongst young people has declined by 0.1 per cent but has kept on rising amongst seniors by 0.1 per cent.

The government hopes there will be further improvement thanks to its Responsability Pact, which has handed businesses 40 billion euros in tax and social security cuts in return for promise to create hundreds of thousands jobs.

A first review of the so called Responsability Pact showed in September that "only one agreement was made in the chemicals industry", said Rebsamen.

"Companies must wake-up" he added.

Unemploment figures came out while the main French employers' association, the Medef, on Wednesday called again for a cut in the number of holidays.

The Medef claimed that cutting two public holidays would create 100,000 jobs.

But Agriculture Minister and government spokesperson Stéphane Le Foll reacted with impatience.

"Can we have some time or other a commitment on what the government has done for business from the Medef leader?" he asked on LCI TV. "There are 41 billion euros on the table for companies over the next three years."

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