French jobless rate steady in third quarter at 9.1pc

Published: November 20, 2018 13:08:06 | Updated: November 21, 2018 20:40:26

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France’s jobless rate held steady in the third quarter (Q3) despite recent employment gains, according to data published by the INSEE national statistics office.

The INSEE said that the unemployment rate of the third largest economy in the European Union stood at 9.1 per cent in the July-September period, unchanged from three months earlier, reports Reuters.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast on average a rate of 9.2 per cent.

The national statistics office forecast last month that the unemployment rate would fall to 8.9 per cent by the end of this year as the economy picked up in the second half.

While President Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms last year have so far not yielded a big impact on unemployment, economists say that they are gradually boosting employment.

In his first major policy move of his pro-business reform agenda, Macron eased labour laws to make it easier to hire and fire workers, something long sought by many French employers.

Although job growth has slowed this year in line with the broader economy, thousands of new jobs are still being created, pushing the employment rate to 65.9 per cent which is the highest since the 1980s, INSEE said.

Excluding French overseas territories where joblessness tends to be higher, the unemployment rate in mainland France stood at 8.8 per cent in the third quarter, also unchanged from the second quarter.

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