French jobless rate stable in Oct: Villepin

Paris, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2006, 06:48am hrs
French unemployment in October is likely to remain stable at September levels, when the jobless rate stood at 8.8 percent, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Wednesday ahead of the datas official publication.

In the third quarter, growth marked a pause and this has had an effect on employment, which should remain stable in the month of October, Villepin told a news conference.

The labour ministry is due to publish official October unemployment data on Thursday, but the statistics are regularly released ahead of time, the night before.

In September, the number of unemployed in France stood at 2.395 million to give a jobless rate of 8.8% down from 9% in August. Villepin said the outlook for French jobs and growth was good, despite weak growth in the July-September period.

We are on a trend of improvement for our economy, he said, adding the government was keeping its economic growth forecasts for between 2 and 2.5% both this year and next.

Growth in the euro zones second largest economy stalled in the third quarter after surging 1.2% in the second quarter. The government has said it expects growth of 0.6-0.8% in the last three months of the year.