Unemployment in France Spikes at End of Year

Labor Minister Michel Sapin.  Photo: Flickr.com/besoindegauche http://www.flickr.com/photos/besoindegauche/7184870207/sizes/z/

Labor Minister Michel Sapin.
Photo: Flickr.com/besoindegauche
http://www.flickr.com/photos/besoindegauche/7184870207/sizes/z/

The rate of unemployment in France rose 0.5% in November, reversing a six-month trend in declining unemployment, a positive trend which continues to be referenced by President François Hollande as the fiscal year draws to a close. A monthly data report released by Pôle Emploi (a French government agency focused on unemployment) on December 26 showed the addition of 17,800 more people actively seeking unemployment, bringing the total number of people unemployed to 3,555,200.  This number includes both domestic France, as well as overseas departments such as Guadeloupe and Martinique. The domestic number of unemployed has reached 3,292,000.

November’s rise in unemployment follows a period of improvement, with over 19,900 individuals finding jobs in October. Labor Minister Michel Sapin has taken note of these conflicting numbers, noting the market’s “volatility” and encouraging analysts to look at the trend with a larger scope, over a period of months.

“From this point of view, we are improving,” he added, quoting figures at a press conference on December 26.  The quoted data showed that the increase in the unemployment rate had significantly declined between the first and third quarters of the fiscal year, with an average decrease in unemployment of about 1,350 people every two months. Sapin labeled this trend a “modest but real reduction.”

However, specific demographics within the unemployed group continue to show deterioration. The number of people over the age of 50 looking for work increased by 9,200 in November, rising to an unemployment rate of 11.7% among older workers.

The government is also concentrating on the number of unemployed youth, defined as those under 25 without active employment. A slight increase of 2,300 unemployed individuals was added to this group in November.  In the current European economy, where it is very difficult for recent college graduates to obtain jobs, France has expressed disappointment with the lack of improvement of the youth unemployment rate, increasing by about 0.3% for the year. Some analysts are skeptical of this figure, which does not take into account subsidized contracts—contracts of future employment—offered to a number of youth after achieving their degree.

The duration of unemployment has also increased, with the average length increasing to 508 days, a record for France.  The number of people unemployed for over a year has also risen to 41.7% of those actively seeking jobs, 2.7% higher than 2012.

The November downturn has prompted a renewal of promises by Hollande’s government to address unemployment issues in 2014. The Head of State has assured that the poor figures in November “just mitigate those of October,” trying to allay criticism by his political opponents on the right and within the Front de Gauche.

The public and Hollande will have to wait until the end of January to receive the December 2013 figures, and perform a complete analysis in the 2013 fiscal year.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Unemployment in France Spikes at End of Year. The rate of unemployment in France rose 0.5% in November, reversing a six-month trend in declining unemployment, a positive trend which continues to be referenced by President François Hollande as the fiscal year draws to a close. A monthly data report released by Pôle Emploi (a French government agency focused on unemployment) on December 26 showed the addition of 17,800 people actively seeking unemployment, bringing the total number of unemployed to 3,555,200. […]

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