- France - unemployment
The benchmark French unemployment indicator jumped 2.4 percent in October compared with September, the strongest monthly surge since March 1993, the employment ministry reported Thursday.
Reacting to the news, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the figures demonstrated "the need for a wide-ranging stimulus plan" based on "support for business investment, which is a lasting guarantee for job creation."
The employment ministry said the number of people looking for a full-time job in October and who had not worked more than 78 hours in the month rose by 46,900 from September to reach a total of 2,004,500. The figures were corrected for seasonal variations.
Compared with October 2007, the increase in the Category 1 index, which serves as a reference indicator for French unemployment, rose by 84,900 or 4.4, percent.
The monthly increase recorded in October was the sixth straight rise since May.
The unemployment rate in France is calculated on a quarterly basis and came to 7.2 percent of the workforce in the second quarter, according to the national statistics institute INSEE.
Lagarde said she would meet with her European Union counterparts on December 2 to discuss "details on coordinating European stimulus plans," which will seek to boost employment in the face of a looming global recession.
The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled an overall EU package, drawn from a smorgasbord of national and EU programmes, worth about 200 billion euros (258 billion dollars) or 1.5 percent the 27-nation European Union's gross domestic product.
In Germany, France's eurozone partner, the labour office said Thursday that unemployment fell in November and remained at a 16-year low.
But the government and analysts warned a recession in Europe's biggest economy would soon be putting more and more people out of work.
"The labour market is stable. This is shown by the current figures with unemployment falling again in November," the labour office said.
"However, the signs are growing that the economic slowdown is going to hit the labour market soon," it added.
The number of people out of work fell by 8,000 in November from October to 2.99 million, a drop of 390,000 compared with November 2007, while the jobless rate inched 0.1 percentage point lower to 7.1 percent, the office said.
On a seasonally adjusted basis the jobless total fell by 10,000, a steeper drop that expected, to 7.5 percent of the workforce.