Unemployment in France has fallen by 0.6 percent in October according to official data published by the Labor Ministry on Thursday. President François Hollande has staked his credibility on turning around the economy and boosting employment.
Unemployment in France fell by 0.6 percent in October according to offical data published by the Labour Ministry on Thursday. It is the first time that France has seen a drop in unemployment since April 2011.
In a press release published shortly after the announcement, the Elysée Palace said: "The numbers published today confirm that the battle against unemployment can be won."
President François Hollande has staked his credibility on turning around the eurozone's second-largest economy and has pledged to bring unemployment down by the end of 2013.
"It will be a battle, it's a battle that we have taken on, fought month by month," Hollande said during a visit to a Paris suburb just hours before October's jobless data was due to be published. "We will have to work on it relentlessly and it will take as much time as necessary."
Pressed later by journalists on whether his year-end deadline still stood, Hollande said "yes" but without elaborating. However, an aide said the pledge was more a question of stabilising unemployment by year-end and then bring it down.
Hollande's fellow Socialists downplayed the president's pledge and the importance of sticking to a specific timetable.
"We shouldn't put constraints on ourselves to get unemployment on a downward trend by such-and-such day, week or month," Senate President Jean-Pierre Bel told journalists.
Hollande has struggled to convince voters and France's EU partners that he can get the economy back on track while reigning in the country's crippling deficit. The Socialist president has already had to abandon plans to bring the public deficit in line with EU limits for 2013.
Rises in the monthly jobless claims slowed of late, but reports of corporate layoffs still dominate the headlines. That is feeding concern about unemployment, which in turn is weighing on consumer confidence, official data showed on Wednesday.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2013-11-28