French jobless claims rose in November, following a surprise fall in the previous month, raising doubts regarding the achievement of President Francois Hollande's aim of brining down unemployment this year.
The number of Class A registered job seekers totaled 3.293 million in November, up 0.5 percent or by 17,800 persons from the end of October, data from the Labor Ministry showed late Thursday. The figure rose 5.6 percent from a year ago.
Despite the increase in jobless figures in November, the government maintained that unemployment is falling in France. Citing the data over several months, the ministry said the rising trend in unemployment has started to reverse in the fourth quarter.
In October, jobless claims declined by 20,500 or 0.6 percent to 3.275 million. The fall was from a record high in September.
The total number of job seekers, including part-time workers, was 4,876,100 in November, down 0.1 percent or 6,900 from October. Year-on-year, the figure rose 5.9 percent.
The ministry noted that the average monthly increase in jobless claims has eased from about 30,000 in the first quarter to 18,000 in the second quarter and 5,500 in the three months to September.
In the first two months of the fourth quarter, jobless claims declined an average 1,350 per month, the ministry said. The government's goal to reduce unemployment by the end of the year is within reach, it added.
The jobless claims data for December is due for release on January 27.
In its latest forecast this month, statistical office INSEE said unemployment is likely to remain stable through to mid-2014. The agency has forecast the jobless rate to be around 11 percent through to mid-2014.
INSEE expects French economic growth to slow to 0.2 percent each in the next two quarters, from a possible 0.4 percent expansion in the final three months of this year.
The agency sees growth of 0.7 percent by mid-2014, after an annual expansion of 0.2 percent this year. Activity is expected to be driven largely by the manufacturing industry.
by RTT Staff Writer
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