French unemployment hits new record, study predicts jobs recovery

Unemployment in France hit a new high in March, according to figures released Tuesday. But an official report predicted that 115,000-212,000 jobs could be created per year as the country pulls out of economic crisis.

A French labour exchange
A French labour exchange Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Unemployment hit 3.51 million in mainland France in March, up 15,400 - 0.4 per cent - on February.

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Youth unemployment rose 1.0 per cent and 2.3 million people have been unemployed for more than a year, a 10.1 per cent rise over the last 12 months.

Shortly before the figures was announced President François Hollande admitted that they would be "too high".

"We must fight day after day so that we can create as many jobs as possible," he declared.

Labour Minister François Rebsamen pointed out that the 9,200 increase over the first quarter of 2015 was "the lowest recorded since 2011".

A government-run thinktank found some grounds for optimism in a report submitted to Rebsamen on Tuesday.

Predicting that the French economy will pull out of crisis, although guarded as to how strong that recovery will be, the report by France Stratégie and the labour ministry's statistical service.

It outlines three scenarios in which the economy will create, 115,000, 177,000 or 122,000 jobs per year until 2022.

France has lost more than 100,000 jobs a year since 2007.

Growth areas, according to the report, will be services and highly qualified jobs.

Industrial jobs, which have drastically declined over the last 10 years, should "stabilise" and agricultural jobs should "continue their recovery".



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