Temporary contract jobs were the hardest hit, with 61,000 of them lost last year. INSEE said that 29,400 jobs were lost in the industrial sector and 13,800 in construction.
French unemployment rose to 10.6 percent of the workforce in the fourth quarter of 2012, the highest level in almost 14 years, and President Francois Hollande has vowed to turn the trend around by the end of this year.
And with the rate set to rise further throughout 2013, the level of unemployment could threaten the recent record set in spring 1997 when it hit 11 percent .
A separate INSEE report on March 7th showed the level of unemployment among young people hit 25.7 percent and came just days after the government released its own monthly unemployment figures, measured using different criteria, which revealed 3.16 million French people were out of work.
There was some relief elsewhere on Wednesday, however, when French automaker Renault signed a deal with unions to avoid factory closures in exchange for an agreement to cut 7,500 jobs and increase working hours.
After signing the deal with three unions – Force Ouvriere, CFE-CGC and CFDT – Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn called it a "historic" step in French labour relations.
The agreement foresees a 6.5 percent increase in working hours, a salary freeze this year and 7,500 job cuts by the end of 2016, mainly through attrition and early retirement.
In exchange, the company agreed not to close any of its five factories in France before the end of 2016.