French unemployment edges down

31st May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 31 (AFP) - High French unemployment, one of the concerns believed to have motivated voters to reject the European Constitution, edged down in April, official data showed on Tuesday.

PARIS, May 31 (AFP) - High French unemployment, one of the concerns believed to have motivated voters to reject the European Constitution, edged down in April, official data showed on Tuesday.

But worry in families about their economic situation and prospects, another factor believed to have been at the centre of the "no" vote, increased sharply, another set of figures also showed.

The labour ministry published data showing that the number of people registered as unemployed fell by 1,400 or by 0.1 percent in April from the March level, marking the first fall this year.

On the basis of a separate calculation used by the International Labour Organisation, the unemployment rate was steady at 10.2 percent of the population.

Meanwhile the national statistics institute INSEE reported that household confidence slumped in May on an adjusted basis.

The INSEE indicator of confidence gave a reading of minus 29 from minus 24 in April.

This was far worse than expected by analysts who had forecast that the indicator would fall slightly to minus 25 points.

At the finance house Xerfi, analyst Nicolas Bouzou said that this was  "the lowest figure since October 2003".

People's confidence had drained away in every area of analysis, INSEE said.

At Natexis Banques Populaires, analyst Marc Touati commented: "If anyone had not understood the reasons for the victory of the "no" vote on Sunday, the two statistics published by INSEE today cast sad light on the situation: unemployment remains high, at more than 10.0 percent and, in parallel, household confidence is collapsing."

This was because "fear about unemployment has shot up by 14 points in a
month and prospects for living standards have slumped by nine points. Attitudes, but also behaviour, are therefore deeply affected by worry."

At CCF bank, Nicolas Claquin commented that further data would show whether or not the slight easing of unemployment would continue, but he doubted this.

"Growth has entered a new period of slowdown, demand is weakening, and the latest surveys of industry and services confirm that the outlook is dimming," he said.

"Pressure is being maintained on containing costs, particularly to cope with a rise in raw material costs and a fall of demand. The labour market will remain depressed."


 © AFP


Subject: French News

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