France revises growth upwards in boost for Macron

Paris (AFP) –


France's economy grew 2.2 percent in 2017, according to revised figures published Tuesday -- good news for President Emmanuel Macron as he pursues ambitious reforms designed to make the country more competitive.

National statistics office INSEE revised its growth for last year up from 2.0 percent, while revising down the public debt ratio by a slight 0.2 percent to 96.8 percent.

Inflation was steady in April at 1.6 percent, supported by a rise in energy prices, INSEE said.

The eurozone's second biggest economy added 57,900 private sector jobs in the first quarter of 2018 -- growth of 0.3 percent, representing a slight slowdown from the end of 2017, according to INSEE's preliminary estimates.

Over a year, France added 270,200 jobs, a rise of 1.4 percent.

Business-friendly Macron has spent his first year in office pushing for deep reforms in France, passing controversial changes to the rigid labour code intended to make it easier to hire and fire people.

He has also cut wealth taxes as part of measures to boost investment, a policy that has earned him the label of "president of the rich" among his opponents.