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Number of jobless has risen again

Unemployment rose 0.3% in December, a blow to President Hollande who had pledged to reverse the upward trend

UNEMPLOYMENT rose 0.3% last month new figures have revealed, with more than 3.3 million people now out of work.

Overall, the number of job seekers, including those in part-time work who are actively seeking positions through the Pôle Emploi (job centre), is almost five million. That represents a record high, as does the figure for those with no work.

The figures, which show a rise of 5.7% across the whole of last year, are an improvement on 2012 (up 10%). However the news is still a blow to President Francois Hollande, who had pledged to reverse the upward trend by the end of 2013.

Mr Hollande said the figures showed signs of stabilisation but added that more work was needed to reduce unemployment.

Defending the latest figures, Employment Minister Michel Sapin declared that 2013 was « a year of war on unemployment ».

The news comes as aviation giant Airbus began consultations over plans to axe 1,700 jobs in France as part of cutting 5,800 jobs worldwide across its defence and space division by the autumn.

In France, 1,400 jobs will be lost across Airbus's industrial sites at Mureaux and Élancourt in Paris, and in Toulouse and Bordeaux, while 300 positions will be cut at offices in Paris and Suresnes.

Meanwhile, German newspaper Saarbrücker Zeitung has claimed that the man credited with revolutionising the German labour market under former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has been called in to advise President Hollande.

Peter Hartz, a former board member of Volkswagen, was charged in 2002 by Mr Schröder with introducing a series of reforms of the German labour market. His « Agenda 2010 » overhauled the country’s welfare system.

A spokesman for Mr Hollande said, however, that Mr Hartz was not an official adviser to the president.

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