French unemployment declines to 10%

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Sat Apr 29 01:34:15 PDT 2000

Saturday 29 April 2000

French unemployment declines to 10% PARIS: French unemployment fell to 10 percent, the Labor Ministry said on Friday, a figure just short of the single-digit figure the Socialist-led government has been hoping to achieve since taking office nearly three years ago. Labor Minister Martine Aubry, a key member of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's government, called the latest unemployment figures "exceptional" and said she was pleased that France could celebrate the May 1st workers' holiday with "a new and strong drop in joblessness." In a communique, Aubry said the latest drop benefited all categories of unemployed, including young people and long-term job seekers. Aubry noted that unemployment had fallen from 12.6 per cent when the Socialists took control of the government in June 1997. According to International Labor Organization standards, the number of jobless in France dropped by 45,000 to 2.589 million, or 10 per cent in March, down from 2.634 million, of 10.2 per cent, in February. She attributed the drop to strong growth, the government's employment policy and the Labor Ministry's policy of creating both public and private sector jobs for young people. Aubry also said that France's new 35-hour workweek law had contributed to the fall in joblessness. Economists have predicted that unemployment will fall to around 9.5 per cent by the end of the year. The government claims that the number of jobless will be below 2 million by 2002, down from just under 2.5 million currently. Fighting unemployment has been a key goal of Jospin's government, and a continued steady drop is likely to be a key factor for his own expected bid for the French presidency in 2002. (AP) For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service
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