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Unemployment drops in France, yet issues remain

The number of unemployed people in France dipped dramatically in September this year, in its biggest drop since 2001, yet unemployment statistics remain problematic.

This growth appears to apply to all areas of industry, including construction, and service-based businesses, and even manufacturing, which has suffered significantly since 2008, appears to be recovering, analysis from French news source FranceInfo suggests today.

Predictions of growth - currently at 1.9% - look healthy across all types of employment across the country, including temporary contracts (contrat à durée déterminée, CDD) and permanent positions (contrat à durée indéterminée, CDI).

In fact, longer-term contracts appear to be on the rise; over 50% of new positions come from new CDI jobs, with contracts of a month or more - a figure that has grown significantly in recent months.

Commentators are still not 100% optimistic, however, with a recent report published by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques, l'Insee) suggesting that the private sector will continue to grow, but that the public sector in contrast, will see a drop in the number of jobs.

Similarly, despite the creation of over 300,000 jobs this year, many of the long-term unemployed are still without work.

This is often attributed to the simple fact that they have been without work for a long time. Figures show that 2.5 million people signed up for unemployment benefits have been on the list for a year or more.

Similarly, inequality is rife, with unemployed people far more likely to come from immigrant backgrounds, even if they are third or fourth generation.

Age is also an issue: those aged 50 or over are repeatedly shown to struggle with finding work, and unemployment among senior people has continued to rise.

Often, people who have been unemployed for a while are perceived to not have the necessary skills to ‘hit the ground running’ in a position, with estimates suggesting that over 350,000 of the jobs available require some kind of training, which can take a long time and be expensive.

The figures come in light of President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform the economy and employment sectors; but it remains to be seen whether he will succeed in reaching those in society who need it most.

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