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France's jobless rate hits new record high

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France's jobless rate hits new record high
France's jobless rate just keeps creeping up. Photo: AFP
18:28 CEST+02:00
The number of people out of work in crisis-hit France hit a new high in July, official statistics published on Wednesday showed, in another blow for President Francois Hollande.

The labour ministry said there were now 3.424 million people out of work, a rise of around 26,000. It was the ninth consecutive rise in the monthly unemployment figures.

"This rise reflects zero growth in the eurozone and in France," Labour Minister Francois Rebsamen said in a statement.

France, Europe's second biggest economy, is battling a political and economic crisis seen as the worst since Hollande took power more than two years ago.

Growth has ground to a halt in the first six months of the year and Hollande has been unable to live up to his promise to bring down unemployment.

His strategy for pulling France out of the mire is his much-vaunted Responsibility Pact, which will cut social charges for businesses by €40 billion ($53 billion) in exchange for them creating 500,000 jobs by 2017.

Given the parlous state of France's deficit and debt, this will be financed by 50 billion euros in public spending cuts, but the plans sparked a rebellion on the left flank of Hollande's ruling Socialist Party.

Former economy minister Arnaud Montebourg launched a broadside at the austerity policies of his own administration, prompting the prime minister to tender the government's resignation and enact an urgent reshuffle.

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