December 3, 2015 / 9:17 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-French quarterly jobless rate reaches 18-year high

(Adds detail, background)

PARIS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - France’s unemployment rate rose to 10.6 percent in the third quarter, its highest quarterly rate since 1997 and up from a revised 10.4 percent in the previous quarter, data published by the INSEE national statistics office on Thursday showed.

The figures will make grim reading for French President Francois Hollande before regional elections this weekend where his Socialist Party is expected to take a drubbing.

He has said he will not stand for re-election in 2017 if he cannot get unemployment down.

The numbers come as no surprise as monthly figures out in recent days have shown how anaemic economic growth is struggling to create jobs.

Eurostat data on Tuesday put October unemployment in the euro zone’s second-largest economy at 10.8 percent - above the single currency area’s average for the first time since 2007.

Last week, Labour Ministry figures showed the number of people registered as out of work jumped by 42,000 in October to a record 3,589,800, up 1.2 percent over one month and 3.7 percent over one year.

French unemployment reached a high of 11.2 percent in the first, second and third quarters of 1997. It hit a low of 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

For a graphic: link.reuters.com/haf52t

For more details from INSEE: here (Reporting Paris Newsroom; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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