August 28, 2019 / 7:49 AM / a month ago

France can reduce unemployment to 7% by 2022: labor minister

FILE PHOTO - French Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - France is confident that reforms it is undertaking will help it meet its target of reducing the unemployment rate to 7% by 2022, Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said on Wednesday.

“The unemployment rate went from 8.7% to 8.5% in the last quarter. It was 9.6% when we came in. Yes, the decline will continue,” Penicaud told CNews television.

When asked if she was confident of reaching a target of 7% by 2022, she said: “Companies are getting more confident... Today with the pension and apprenticeship reforms, the ‘PACTE’ law, we think we have the levers to be around 7%, that is our ambition.”

The INSEE national statistics office said earlier this month that the unemployment rate in France, the euro zone’s second-biggest economy, fell to 8.5% in the second quarter from 8.7% in the first.

That was the lowest level since 7.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008, although it remains above an unemployment rate of around 5% in Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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