France

French PM optimistic despite growing unemployment

File photo: Reuters/Remi Jouan

French Prime Minister François Fillon admitted on Monday that French unemployment figures for December were "bad". As the government revealed a 5.3 per cent increase in the number of job seekers for 2010 he said that the country is "now in a period of recovery". He said training opportunities are the key to reducing the number of jobless.

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During a conference at the offices of Microsoft in a suburb outside of Paris, Fillon said the economic crisis is still having a "profound effect" on European economies but he believes a series of measures implemented by the French government will result in a reduction of unemployment in 2011.

"We are going to fight," he said, "and I am convinced that if we don't have any slip-ups in terms of sovereign debt -- and we're doing everything to avoid it -- 2011 will be a year of strong economic recovery, inasmuch as it can be in Europe."

Microsoft France, he says, is a very good example of a company that embodies the "priorities of the government's economic policy". It has decided to "base a large part of its activities, notably on research, in France".

But, he explained, it is also a company that provides its staff with in-house training opportunities and takes on school leavers via a series of apprenticeships.

"Training is one of the most efficient solutions in combatting unemployment among the young," he said.

According to figures released by the French Labour Ministry on Wednesday, the number of people registered as unemployed, including those in part-time work, increased by 32,600 in December to more than four million people. 

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