Jobless rate up for six quarters consecutively


France’s jobless rate rose further in the last three months of 2012 to its highest since the second quarter of 1999, showing the challenge the government faces in its goal to reverse the upward trend by the end of the year.

The rise in unemployment to 10.6 per cent is the sixth consecutive quarter of increase in the jobless rate in the euro zone’s second largest economy, which contracted 0.3 per cent in the final three months of 2012.

Economists have forecast an even bleaker picture in the months to come, with unemployment seen hitting an all-time high of 11.3 per cent by the start of 2014.

The headline figure, based on the measurement criteria of the International Labour Organisation, was up 0.3 percentage points from the third quarter. It includes unemployment in mainland France and overseas territories.

The unemployment for mainland France alone was 10.2 per cent.

The total number of unemployed in mainland France stood at 2.9 million in the fourth quarter, the data published by national statistics office Insee showed.

Young people were hit the hardest, with just over a quarter of 15-24 year-olds unemployed.– (Reuters)