World Economy

French Unemployment at Record High

French Unemployment at Record HighFrench Unemployment at Record High

After a slight improvement in August, the number of jobless in France once again increased in September, reaching a new record high of 3.43 million unemployed, government figures revealed.

Data from France’s labor ministry showed unemployment rose by 0.6 percent last month, after the modest 0.3 rise it experienced in August, said France 24 in a report.

The figures were published amid declarations by Prime Minister Manuel Valls which suggested the government may seek reforms to the country’s unemployment benefits and work contracts’ system.

“Let’s be honest, we are failing,” French Labor Minister Francois Rebsamen told Le Parisien newspaper in an unusually candid acknowledgement of France’s massive unemployment problem.

He argued that the government’s attempts to reform the labor market needed more time to take effect.

  Responsibility Pact

The government has introduced a much-vaunted but highly disputed “Responsibility Pact”, which will cut social charges for businesses by $51 billion (40 billion euro) in exchange for them creating 500,000 jobs by 2017.

Given the parlous state of France’s budget deficit, which is expected to remain above European Union limits until 2017, Hollande plans to finance the tax breaks with 50 billion euros in public spending cuts.

In a recent interview in French weekly Les Obs, Valls said he thought France should consider revising existing long-term and short-term contracts in order to merge the two into a single contract system opposed by unions.