World Economy

3.5m French Looking for Work

3.5m French Looking for Work3.5m French Looking for Work

The number of unemployed in France hit a new record in March at 3.51 million people, up 0.4 percent from February, with young people especially hard hit, the Labor ministry said.

The news comes as the third anniversary of President Francois Hollande’s election approaches. He has pledged not to seek re-election in 2017 if he does not succeed in reversing the trend of ever-increasing unemployment, AFP reported.

Labor Minister Francois Rebsamen in a statement chose to focus on the first quarter figure which he said showed the smallest increase over three months in jobless workers since early 2011. He said it was a sign that the government’s measures “are beginning to bear fruit.”

While the INSEE, national statistics office, has forecast more positive economic growth for France this year, it says it will be insufficient to drive down the country’s stubbornly high unemployment. The jobless rate was forecast to hit a 20-year record high of 10.2 percent in mainland France.

Meanwhile, French consumer confidence rose for the third consecutive month in April to reach the highest level in over five years, statistics showed Tuesday.

Consumer confidence in the eurozone’s second-largest economy rose one point to 94 in April from March, the highest level since January 2010, INSEE said.

French consumers” assessment of their own personal finances and their ability to make large purchases improved in April. Still, concerns about rising unemployment rose in Insee’s survey and inflation expectations rose.