French joblessness hits new post-2009 low

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Published: August 14, 2019 5:04:41 PM

The fall in the number of jobless mirrors the situation in the wider eurozone, where unemployment fell to an 11-year low of 7.5 per cent of May.

Pro-business President Emmanuel Macron, like his socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, has made bringing down the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate his top priority.

France’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in the second quarter to 8.5 per cent, its lowest level in a decade, the national statistics agency Insee said Wednesday, confirming a moderate downward trend begun in mid-2015. On the French mainland, the rate fell 0.2 points compared with the first quarter to 8.2 per cent, or 2.4 million jobless. The level stood at 8.5 per cent when French overseas territories were included, also down 0.2 points over the first three months of 2019 to the lowest level since 2009.

The fall in the number of jobless mirrors the situation in the wider eurozone, where unemployment fell to an 11-year low of 7.5 per cent of May. France, however, has long been one of the poorer performers among major EU economies. Pro-business President Emmanuel Macron, like his socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, has made bringing down the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate his top priority.

He has loosened the country’s labour laws, cut corporate taxes and pushed through a law requiring people to work for longer before claiming unemployment benefits in order to encourage hiring.

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