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Unemployment in France reaches 15-year high

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 27th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

French unemployment is at its highest since January 1997, when it reached 3.19 million. Unemployment numbers in France have risen by 43,000 in January to 3.16 million, an increase of 10.7 percent from last year, the labor ministry revealed this week.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The number of registered French unemployed rose by 43,000 in January to 3.16 million, the labor ministry declared this week, to just shy of a 16-year record.

The ministry said the number of registered unemployed rose by 10.7 percent from 2012.

These dreary figures are a large setback for Socialist President Francois Hollande, who has pledged to curb the unemployment rate from the current level of more than 10 percent to a single-digit figure by December.

Increasing economic problems have already forced Hollande to abandon a goal to reduce the fiscal deficit to three percent in line with European Union norms after slashing this year's growth forecast.

Hollande's government continues to grapple with weak growth, poor competitiveness, thousands of layoffs and general economic gloom.

Hollande has steadfastly rejected undertaking massive additional austerity measures this year, arguing they would only slow growth and further aggravate the country's finances.

Unemployment has risen for 21 consecutive months. According to Labor Minister Michel Sapin, France was committed to reducing the alarming jobless rate by the end of 2013.

"When we say that by the end of the year, it is possible, not only desirable. It is not just a wish to reverse the unemployment curve because we know that by the end of the year the policies will gradually bear their fruits," Sapin told television journalists.

With employment as his "sole objective in 2013," French President Francois Hollande pledged to create 150,000 state-sponsored jobs for the poorly skilled young people from rural areas and 500,000 contracts to encourage companies to hire young workers.
In addition, he unveiled a competitiveness pact to inject fresh blood to the ailing industry, which is expected to create up to 400,000 jobs.

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