France avoids recession
France's economy narrowly avoided recession, growing slightly in the third quarter, official statistics said today.
The French economy has not recorded growth since the third quarter of last year and had been widely expected to start its slide into recession in the third quarter — technically defined as two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product.
Instead, Insee, the national statistics agency, said GDP rose 0.2 per cent on an annual basis in the July-to-September period.
But the agency also revised down figures for the second quarter, saying the economy shrank 0.1 per cent. It had previously said growth was stagnant, as it had been for the previous two quarters.
President Francois Hollande has promised to rein in massive government spending and reduce the deficit, largely by raising taxes.
But those measures have put a stranglehold on growth, and the country has watched unemployment tick steadily up as a raft of companies announced layoffs in recent months. The jobless rate now stands at 10.8 per cent, according to European statistics.