France’s unemployment rate stabilised in March with only 1,600 new job seekers, according to data released by the government on Friday, but the total number of people without work is still at a record 3.34 million.
The news is likely to be interpreted as encouraging by the government of socialist President François Hollande, who pledged during his 2012 election campaign to counter rising unemployment. The promise has proved difficult to keep, with joblessness continuing to grow throughout his first year in office.
The number of people under 25 seeking jobs shrank slightly in the month of March by 0.8 percent, or 4,300, bringing the youth unemployment rate to its lowest level since October 2012. In contrast, those over the age of 50 without jobs grew by 7,300 or 0.1 percent, continuing an uninterrupted trend since the global economic crisis hit France in 2008.
“Efforts must continue,” François Rebsamen, the country’s new employment minister, said in a statement. “We must not give up on our employment policy.”
Rebsamen added that Hollande’s new “responsibility pact” between the French government and employers, under which the government will cut taxes and shave 50 billion euros from the budget while business commits to creating jobs, should also help employment.
Hollande is expected to meet on Monday with his new Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who was appointed earlier this month amid a government reshuffle, and other ministers to discuss unemployment in France.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-04-25