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Jobless total shows first fall in three months

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10:49 CEST+02:00

The French government's main measure of unemployment fell slightly in August, with 2,000 fewer job seekers than July.

The headline measure stood at 2,754,500 for the month, a small drop of 0.1 percent.

The news put an end to successive rises in the unemployment roll over the last three months. So far in 2011, the number of job seekers has increased by 29,000.

The government also released more detailed figures for all those looking for jobs (including those currently doing some work) which showed a 20,000 rise to 4.15 million.

Older people continue to be hardest hit, with a 0.9 percent monthly increase in the numbers of job seekers aged 50 or over. 

For the first time in many months, people younger than 25 saw a slight improvement in their job prospects, with 1.4 percent fewer looking for work.

Employment minister Xavier Bertrand pointed to a "positive evolution" despite an "overall slowdown in growth."

Over 1.5 million people have now been without work for more than a year, a figure that is up by 8.7 percent year on year.

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