French jobless total surges to new record in February
PARIS: The number of people out of work in France surged in February by 31,500 to a new record, dealing a blow to President Francois Hollande’s government during local elections.
Labour ministry data showed on Wednesday that the number of people registered out of work reached 3,347,700 in mainland France, up 0.9 per cent over one month and 4.7 per cent over one year.
The increase was the biggest since a computer glitch caused a huge jump in September. Excluding that month, it was the worst deterioration in the job market since April 2013.
Hollande’s poll ratings have dropped to record lows after he failed to fulfil a promise to get unemployment on a downward trend by the end of last year. Local elections go to a second round of voting on Sunday.
His Socialist party was punished in a first round last Sunday in part over voter frustration with his lack of progress on taming unemployment, which stands at 10.2 per cent.
Despite the poor showing, Hollande’s government has said it will stick with economic reforms and spending cuts, including a plan to phase out 30 billion euros (US$41 billion) in payroll tax on companies in exchange for hiring more workers.