UPDATE 1-French jobless total hits new high in April

Wed May 28, 2014 12:30pm EDT

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PARIS May 28 (Reuters) - The number of people without a job in France rose by 14,800 in April to a new record, undermining President Francois Hollande's campaign to bring unemployment down.

Labour ministry data on Wednesday showed that the number of people registered out of work reached 3,364,100 in mainland France, an increase 0.4 percent over one month and 3.5 percent over one year.

Hollande has watched his ratings crumble to record lows as he has struggled to live up to promises to wrestle down unemployment, which stood at 10.2 percent at the end of last year, according to the most recent figures.

The Socialist leader, who is also having little success reviving the euro zone's second-biggest economy, has said he would not run for re-election in 2017 if unemployment does not fall by the end of his term.

Hollande's government is counting on growth of 1 percent this year, but that may be a stretch after the economy stagnated in the first three months of the year.

"We need pretty strong quarterly growth of the order of 0.4 percent to get a significant decrease in unemployment, especially since companies are still overstaffed," said economist Bruno Ducoudre at the OFCE think-tank.

Hollande is pinning his recovery hopes on plans to phase out 30 billion euros ($40.8 billion) in payroll tax on companies in exchange for commitments to hire and invest in France.

He renewed his promise to reform France and refocus Europe on jobs and growth after his Socialist Party came third in European Parliament elections on Sunday, trailing behind both the conservative UMP party and the far-right National Front.

"In 2008 during the crisis, we were told that by 2011 things would be better and we're in 2014," said Sebastien Duthoit, a legal consultant in his thirties.

"So it's not going to be in 2014 in any case, maybe 2017, 2020, but not any time soon," he added. ($1 = 0.7354 Euros) (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Additional reporting by Pauline Ades-Mevel)

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