France's labour ministry was forced into an embarrassing climbdown Monday, when it emerged that its August unemployment data was wrong. Due to a technical error, the drop in unemployment numbers was actually half that previously published.
August’s much-vaunted drop in the French unemployment rate – the first fall since April 2011 – was half that previously published, France's labour ministry was forced to admit on Monday. The ministry swiftly blamed a technical error for the mistake.
France's labour ministry originally announced last week that the number of registered jobseekers in France fell in August for the first time in more than two years by 50,000 to 3.23 million. French ministers proudly trumpeted the statistics as it was the largest one-month drop in the unemployment rate since 2000.
But a malfunction with phone operator SFR, which regularly sends out thousands of text messages reminding jobseekers to register for their benefits, means that the drop was in fact between 22,000 and 29,000, the ministry stated Monday.
The ministry argued that the mistake did not diminish the significance of the turn-around in unemployment.
"This remains the first decrease in 27 months and the most significant since December 2007," it stated.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-09-30