Unemployment rises 0.9% in February, France says
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French unemployment rose 0.9% in February, the labour ministry announced Wednesday, with almost 3.35 million now out of work. The new numbers are more bad news for President François Hollande, who is already under fire over France's stagnant economy.
The ministry said that the number of people registered as out of work reached a record 3,347,700 in mainland France, up 0.9 percent over the previous month and 4.7 percent over the year.
Hollande has struggled to breathe new life into the eurozone’s second-biggest economic engine and keep his oft-repeated promise to get unemployment falling by the end of last year.
Acknowledging that more needed to be done to get companies hiring, Hollande announced a more business-friendly policy shift in January, including plans for corporate tax breaks in exchange for hiring commitments.
He promised to phase out by 2017 some €30 billion in the charges companies pay to finance family benefits on the condition that they accept elevated targets for hiring and investing.
Hollande’s failure to tame unemployment has driven his approval ratings to record lows for a president in modern France.
The labour ministry has stressed that there was a clear slowdown in the rise of unemployment over the course of 2013, with new monthly jobless claims much lower towards the end of the year than they had been at the start.
Some 177,800 people joined the jobless register in 2013, down from 283,800 in 2012, the ministry said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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