France braces for more bad news on jobless front

2nd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Upcoming unemployment figures in France will be bad but not as terrible as those for November, says French Economy Minister.

PARIS – France's upcoming unemployment figures will be bad but not as terrible as those for November when 64,000 people joined the jobless rolls, Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said Friday.

"The unemployment figures in France will be bad, just like in other countries," Lagarde said in an interview to BFM radio ahead of fresh data to be released on Monday.

"I don't think they will be as bad as last month, but it will obviously not be a good figure."

France crossed the symbolic threshold of two million unemployed in October and the rate surged 3.2 percent the following month to reach 2,068,500 jobless.

The year-on-year rate in November stood at 8.5 percent.

"In countries all over the world, this is the effect of the economic situation. Businesses today are no longer able to get financing, they are not investing, scaling back their activities and cutting back jobs," said Lagarde.

The figures were due to have been published on Thursday but a strike, called in protest at plans to transfer hundreds of workers from the statistics service in Paris to a provincial city, forced a delay until Monday.

Employment Minister Laurent Wauqiez earlier said France, the eurozone's second biggest economy, was expecting bad figures for December.

"We are going into a period of serious crisis, you can see that from the employment figures. We're going to have bad figures," Wauquiez told reporters during a trip to Toulouse in the southwest.

France is expected to plunge into recession this year for the first time since 1993.

The European Commission this month forecast unemployment in France to reach 10.6 percent in 2010.

[AFP / Expatica]

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