French unemployment stable at 9.6 pct

31st March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 31 (AFP) - The number of jobless in France slipped 0.1 percent in February from January, while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.6 percent, data published Wednesday by the social affairs ministry showed.

PARIS, March 31 (AFP) - The number of jobless in France slipped 0.1 percent in February from January, while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.6 percent, data published Wednesday by the social affairs ministry showed.

Voter concern about unemployment, a perennial issue in French politics, is widely seen as one of the factors behind a landslide defeat for the centre-right government in regional elections on Sunday.

A government reshuffle was expected to be announced on Wednesday in response to the outcome of the ballot.

The number of job-seekers immediately available for full-time work, which is used as an official barometer, dropped by 2,700 in February to a total of 2,416,200 people.

This category excludes those on the unemployment register who undertake part-time or temporary work for more than 78 hours per month. Including such people, the number of jobless rose 0.1 percent in February.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate as calculated by the International Labour Office (ILO) stood at 9.6 percent, unchanged from January's reading, the ministry said.

In January, the number of job-seekers fell by 1.1 percent, or 27,600 people.New rules for unemployment benefit came into effect on January 1, and it was believed that thousands of jobless no longer declared themselves to the authorities.

The ILO unemployment rate in January fell 0.1 percentage points to 9.6 percent.

© AFP

                                         Subject: French news

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