French unemployment falls again
French jobless rate fell to 7.5 percent of the working population in the last quarter of 2007, according to official figures.
PARIS, March 6, 2008 - The French jobless rate fell to 7.5 percent of
the working population in the last quarter of 2007, according to official
figures Thursday which the government hailed as the lowest level since 1983.
The data, from the statistics office INSEE, give an unemployment rate for
France of 8.0 percent last year, down from 8.8 percent in 2006.
"This is historically the lowest figure since 1983," Economy Minister
Christine Lagarde said, citing the creation of 340,000 jobs last year.
Previously published data put unemployment at 7.9 percent in the third
quarter of 2007 and 8.1 percent in the second.
High unemployment has been a central issue in France for more than a decade
and the recent improvment has been taken by President Nicolas Sarkozy's
government to justify its case for further economic reform.
The French economy had held up well against a backdrop of turbulent
financial markets "and this had been reinforced strongly by measures taken to
bolster domestic demand," Sarkozy said on Wednesday.
The president was elected last year on promises of radical change in France
but his popularity has suffered as his reforms have struggled to produce
results, most notably in improving the standard of living.