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France has 3.43m on dole queue

Jobless total hits new record as employment minister says ‘We’ve failed’ adding there was insufficient economic growth

FRANCE has hit a new record jobless total, with 3,432,500 unemployed in September after a slight fall in August.

The most disturbing figures relate to the number of long-term unemployed, where 2,200,400 people have been out of work for more than a year (up 10% over the year).

Employment Minister François Rebsamen was surprisingly frank after the figures were announced, saying in Le Parisien: “Let’s be honest, we’ve failed.” He added that “because there is no growth there is not enough job creation” and he did not expect jobless numbers to start falling before mid-2015.

The government’s reforms would have a positive impact on “productivity, competitivity and employment” but “need time” to produce effects.

August saw an 11,100 drop in jobless, but September’s figures of a 19,200 rise also revealed that 784,000 under-25s are out of work with Mr Rebsamen saying that efforts to prioritise jobs for the young should continue.

All age groups are affected by the rise, with a 1% rise in over-50s making an increase of 11.1% over the past year – although the government noted that this was slowing down. Hopes that the contrat de génération - where financial aid is given to employ a young worker alongside an older worker – would boost employment had failed with just 24,000 contracts instead of the hoped-for 75,000.

Economist Philippe Crevel told newspaper 20 Minutes : “The lack of signs of economic recovery do not augur well for unemployment although September is never a good month for employment as it is the month when young graduates, whose education ended in June, enter the labour market.”

He added that the rise in unemployment was due mainly to "sluggish internal demand" and "by the inability of the French economy to regain export market share".

* This month's Connexion has an extensive article on unemployment and plans to change how benefit is paid. You can buy it in newsagents across France or download a pdf at Connexion downloads here for €3.50.

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