World Economy

French Joblessness at Record High

French Joblessness  at Record HighFrench Joblessness  at Record High

French jobless claims rose to a record after President Francois Hollande failed to revive the nation’s economy in the first half of his mandate.

The number of people actively looking for work in France increased by 27,400, or 0.8 percent, to 3.49 million in November, the Labor Ministry said in an e-mailed statement, Bloomberg reported.

Jobless claims have risen in all except three months during Hollande’s first two and a half years in office as the economy barely grew and the government trimmed spending. Hollande said last month that he won’t seek re-election in 2017 if he fails to curb unemployment by then.

Since Hollande took power in May 2012, France has financed initiatives to sponsor jobs for young people and cut labor taxes in a bid to get employers recruiting. But the economy is growing only slowly, and the ranks of unemployed have swollen by over half a million.

“The goal was to reduce unemployment, and I have said to myself: if I have not managed by the end of my mandate, do you think I will put myself before the French people?” Hollande said in a TF1 television interview Nov. 6. “They will be merciless.”

The standard international measure of unemployment, devised by the UN specialized agency International Labor Organization and based on a regular survey, says that unemployment in France rose to 2.84 million in the third quarter of the year, giving an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent.

However, he appeared to be more optimistic in his interview with the French daily Le Figaro. “We need to fight, so we’re fighting. Reforms are being made. They are coherent. Much of the public opinion is beginning to see that.”

French Labor Minister Francois Rebsamen said in a statement that the government will increase efforts to find long- term unemployed people new jobs, with a new plan to double the number of job-seekers getting “intensive support” by 2017.

“The improving economy in 2015 will be accompanied by an offensive strategy to fight unemployment,” he said.