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France Sets New Joblessness Record


France’s unemployment rate has reportedly reached a record high, as the number of unemployed persons rose 0.4 percent in December.  The spike comes as the French Labor Ministry announced yesterday that 3.59 million people are actively seeking employment.

The number of job seekers rises to 5.48 million when including part-time employees seeking full-time jobs, reports France 24.

Since French President Francois Hollande took office in 2012, the number of job seekers in the country has steadily grown, reports Nasdaq.  In the third quarter of 2015, France’s unemployment rate hit an 18-year high of 10.6 percent.

The Ministry of Labor also announced that 2015’s spike in unemployment rates was the country’s smallest rise since 2010.  Unemployment among French under 25 years old also fell by 4 percent last year. 

The 50+ demographic fared the worst in the joblessness crisis, as unemployment for the group rose 8.4 percent in 2015. 

There are 2.47 million people in France who have been unemployed for at least one year.

Hollande’s government has been taking action to manage the country’s falling employment rate.  Hollande announced an emergency jobs package of 2 billion euros ($2.17 billion USD) to combat the economic woes. 

French Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri commented, “The context justifies the government’s ambition with the jobs plan,” regarding the job creation initiative. 

Hollande called the country’s joblessness a “state of economic emergency” when he announced the emergency spending plan.

While Hollande is a Socialist, he has moved to adopt right-of-center policies to tackle France’s unemployment rise.

Last August, Hollande’s government passed the Macron Law, an economic plan aimed at boosting hiring by deregulating the labor market, reports New Europe.  The neo-liberal plan won the support of the International Monetary Fund, OECD and European Commission. 

The Macron Law includes measures to extend trading hours, allow more passenger coach transport, and generally de-regulate businesses.  The measure also made it easier for French firms to fire their employees. 

Sources: France 24, Nasdaq, New Europe / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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