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INDUSTRY & TRADE

After promising to create 1,000 jobs in France… GE set to cut 1,044

US industrial conglomerate General Electric said on Tuesday that it would cut more than 1,000 jobs, mainly at its gas turbine operations in eastern France, part of a wave of European layoffs as it tries to stem losses in its power generation business.

After promising to create 1,000 jobs in France... GE set to cut 1,044
Photo: AFP
The 1,044 job cuts, long feared by unions, could become a political challenge for President Emmanuel Macron, who assured local officials this month that the government was following the matter with “the utmost vigilance”.
   
The cuts will be made mainly in Belfort, eastern France, the European headquarters for GE Energy, and in the Paris region, the company said in a statement.
   
“More than half the number of employees in the gas activities… are going to lose their jobs,” the mayor of Belfort, Damien Meslot, and other local officials said in a statement.
   
They warned of “a new hardship” for the region, which has been hit hard by the decline of mining and heavy industry over the past decades.
 
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US giant GE to pay France €50 million after creating just 25 jobs out of 1,000Photo: AFP

Overall, GE employs nearly 4,000 people in Belfort, including 1,900 in its gas turbine operations.   

The company has struggled for years with slumping demand for its gas turbines because of low oil and gas prices, and the power operations were a key factor in its massive annual loss of $22.8 billion last year.
   
In 2015 GE announced 6,500 job cuts across Europe, and two years later it revealed a further 12,000 cuts.
 
That prompted France to fine the company €50 million earlier this year, since GE had promised to create at least 1,000 new jobs when it announced the purchase of the power businesses from France's Alstom in 2014.
 
Shortly after closing that deal, GE unveiled a series of job cuts across Europe as slumping oil and gas prices crimped demand for its heavy-duty turbines and other equipment.
 
The company had already warned last year that it wouldn't meet the target, though the new CEO Larry Culp confirmed in October that GE would “fulfil its commitments.”
 
It had promised to pay €50,000 for every job not created over the three-year period.

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ECONOMY

France to dodge recession but outlook looks less rosy

France will just about avoid a recession but the economic outlook is not as positive as was first forecast.

France to dodge recession but outlook looks less rosy
Photo: AFP

France is set to dodge a technical recession, according to the latest forecasts by the national statistics agency Insee released on Thursday, although it cut its outlook for annual growth to 1.3 percent.

Insee expects the French economy to have expanded by 0.2 percent in the third quarter, after having contracted by 0.1 percent in April through June.

A recession is typically defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.

While growth will likely pick up further in the final three months of the year, Insee cut its forecast for the year from 1.6 percent to 1.3 percent.

This is below the government's forecast of 1.5 percent growth, but Finance Minister Michel Sapin said French growth remained “solid”.

France's economy grew by 1.2 percent last year.

“Insee's forecasts don't call into question our public deficit target for 2016 nor our growth forecast for 2017,” Sapin said in a statement.

Insee also forecast a 0.1 percent drop in the unemployment rate to 9.5 percent at the end of the year.

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