PARIS Oct 26 The number of jobless people in
France rose in September to its highest level since early 2000,
after a short-lived respite in August, in more bleak economic
news for the centre-right government six months before
Labour ministry data showed the number of registered
jobseekers in mainland France jumped by 26,000 to 2.78 million,
up 0.9 percent on the month and 3 percent on the year.
It was the highest level since a reading of 2.8 million in
February 2000, as France battles to create new jobs in a climate
of entrenched economic gloom that looks set to linger until at
least the end of next year.
BNP Paribas analyst Dominique Barbet said the rise was in
line with steady increases since April, due in part to a rise in
the retirement age which increases the activity ratio.
"The unexpected decline in August, although modest, made a
correction more likely in September," Barbet said.
"Unfortunately, we do not foresee much improvement because
of the economic slowdown," he added.
The monthly labour ministry data is the most frequently
reported domestic jobs indicator in France, although it is not
prepared according to widely used ILO standards.
Six months from a presidential election at which polls
suggest Socialist Francois Hollande could easily defeat
President Nicolas Sarkozy, the grim outlook for the job market
bodes badly for consumer spending, the traditional engine of
It is also a blight on Sarkozy's 2007 campaign pledge to
create jobs, which was derailed by the global economic crisis,
and the government's more recent goal to bring unemployment to
below 9 percent by the end of 2011.
Under International Labour Organisation (ILO) accounting,
the unemployment rate in mainland France dipped in the second
quarter to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in the previous three
The rate peaked in the wake of the financial crisis at a
10-year high of 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The figures look set to worsen as the government prepares to
cut its 2012 economic growth forecast of 1.75 percent to bring
it more in line with analyst estimates at around 1 percent.
In its latest economic outlook the national jobseeking
agency, Pole Emploi, forecast that the number of jobseekers
would decrease by 5,000 next year if French growth is 1.7
percent after an increase of the same amount this year.
If the economy grows by a lesser 1.4 percent, as the
International Monetary Fund has forecast, the number of
jobseekers is likely to rise by 12,000, the agency said.
The body that manages France's unemployment insurance,
UNEDIC, has painted a gloomier picture, forecasting economic
growth of 1.2 percent in 2012 and estimating the number of
jobseekers would rise by 55,000.