• France's news in English
Has France really seen a record fall in unemployment?
Photo: AFP

Has France really seen a record fall in unemployment?

The Local · 27 Apr 2016, 09:11

Published: 27 Apr 2016 09:11 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The figures, which took most people by surprise in France, revealed that the month of March saw the number of unemployed drop in France by a huge 60,000.

To put it in context that’s the biggest recorded drop for 16 years.

The government were quick to celebrate the figures released by the Ministry of Labour.

“This is good news for France,” said spokesperson Stephane Le Foll, a key ally of President François Hollande, whose chances of re-election hinge on whether there is a major drop in unemployment before next year’s elections.

Le Foll said the government would continue to do more in the coming months to get unemployment down and boost Hollande’s chances at the polls.

But most economic experts in France and indeed Hollande’s enemies on the right, as you would expect, say it’s far too early to start popping any champagne corks.

Many point out that the figures are unreliable from month to month and it’s far better to look at the jobless rate over a whole year.

“A fall of this size is encouraging but needs to be confirmed,” economist Bruno Ducoudré told L’Obs website.

The figures also only applied to category A of France’s “chomeurs”, which is essentially those actively seeking full time work.

The number of jobseekers in other categories, such as those who have a few hours of paid work but seek more, or those not actively seeking work, perhaps because they are in training or sick, actually rose.

But most economists accept that Hollande’s economic policies combined with a slight improvement in the economic outlook for the country has had an effect, albeit menial, on unemployment.

Story continues below…

Policies such as cutting payroll charges for employers and offering bonuses to companies who hire new staff on permanent contracts or temporary contracts of at least six months, is helping people into jobs, experts say.

But the president and the country still face an uphill task.

“Even if unemployment falls in 2016, it will take several years of growth and falling unemployment to erase the scars of the economic crisis and give people the impression that the situation has really improved,” said Ducoudré.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available