The jobless rate fell to 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, down 0.6 percentage points from the previous three months, according to statistics bureau Insee.
The figure comes two months ahead of a presidential election in which President Emmanuel Macron is expected to seek a second term.
The rate is the lowest since 2008 except for the spring of 2020, when many people stopped looking for work as coronavirus restrictions weighed on the economy.
Last month, Insee reported France’s strongest annual economic growth in more than half a decade, at seven percent for 2021 after a 7.9 percent plunge in 2020.
Calling the jobs figure “excellent news”, Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said “nobody thought that we could see such a performance as we emerge from one of the worst crises we’ve known in recent decades”.
Fourth-quarter unemployment was 0.8 points below the level seen at the end of 2019, before Covid-19 made its impact on the economy.
Youth unemployment, which has been stubbornly high in France, dropped to a level not seen since the 1990s.
The unemployment statistics do not include the French overseas territory of Mayotte.
In January, Insee reported that France’s economy grew last year at its fastest pace since 1969, enjoying a forecast-busting rebound from coronavirus lockdowns fuelled in part by massive government support.