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France sees big jump in number of unemployed
The number of unemployed in France shot up in May, new figures showed. Photo: Shutterstock

France sees big jump in number of unemployed

Published on: 27 Jun 2014 08:29 CET

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The number of registered unemployed in France suffered a big jump in May, rising by 24,800 to a new record of 3.388 million, the labour ministry said on Thursday.

The number was a 0.7-percent increase over April.

"These numbers are not good," the ministry admitted in a statement. "They reflect weaker-than-expected growth in the first half."

Struggling with a stagnant economy, President Francois Hollande's deeply unpopular Socialist government has so far been unable to meet a promise to stem rises in unemployment.

"The unemployment numbers are bad, but at the same time they are not fatalistic,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

The government's Labour Minister François Rebsamen said the “government’s continued efforts should help stem the increase [of unemployment] in the second half of 2014.”

Cutting unemployment was one of President François Hollande’s famous election pledges, but he has been unable to keep that promise as the jobless total has continued to rise in the two years since he has been in office.

Hollande even went as far as saying that if he failed to stem the rise in unemployment by 2017 he wouldn’t run for a second term.

The under pressure president has banked everything on his “responsibility pact” which will see €30 billion cuts in payroll charges for employers which in turn the government hopes will spur recruitment.

However there is no guarantee this would happen.

There was more bad news on the economic front this week when Finance Minister Michel Sapin told RTL radio early Thursday that flat first quarter growth was too weak to "get unemployment trending in the right direction."

The economy is expected to expand by just 0.7 percent this year, INSEE estimates show, less than the government's forecast of 1.0 percent.

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