French unemployment rises to 9.9 pct

30th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 30 (AFP) - France's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent of the workforce in August from 9.8 percent in July, data released Thursday from the Labour Ministry showed.

PARIS, Sept 30 (AFP) - France's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent of the workforce in August from 9.8 percent in July, data released Thursday from the Labour Ministry showed.  

The increase comes two days after Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin committed himself to tackling the country's stubbornly high unemployment rate.  

The rise also confounded economists expectations for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 9.8 percent.  

However, with other economic indicators suggesting the French economy is increasingly shifting into recovery mode after several lean years, economists remained optimistic.  

BNP Paribas economist Jean-Marc Lucas said: "This bad figure should not presage an unfavourable trend. Given the current rate of GDP (gross domestic product) growth, a fall in unemployment can be expected."  

The government and private economists are expecting growth this year of about 2.5 percent.  

Nevertheless CCF economist Nicolas Claquin warned: "The labour market needs to recover to ensure that growth of about 2.5 percent endures".  

The unexpected increase in the unemployment rate in August fell at bad time for Raffarin who made a commitment on Tuesday to wrestle down unemployment by the end of next year.  

"I'll say it loud and clear, I am committing myself bringing unemployment down in France by the end of 2005," he said.  

He added that the second hald of this year could be difficult for some job seekers but that he had "every reason to be confident about 2005".  

However, the unemployment data released Thursday gave fuel to the opposition for critizing the government's attempts to bring unemployment down.  

Socialist Party official Eric Besson said in a statement: "The figures published for the month of August confirm the government's incapacity to stamp out the continued increase in unemployment since 1992".  

Using International Labour Organisation standards for calculation, the number of registered unemployed who are "immediately available" for work rose 32,000 to reach 2,707,000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis - the biggest monthly increase since March 1996.  

Using the ministry's method of calculating, the number of people unemployed in France rose by half a percentage point in August to 2.453 million, marking an increase of 2.2 percent over 12 months.  

The increase countered a fall of 0.5 percentage points in the total in July.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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