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French Unemployment Tops 3 Million In August

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Unemployment in France crossed the 3-million threshold in August for the first time in more than a decade as weak economic activity continued to hamper government's efforts to prop up the job market.

Data published by the Labor Ministry on late Wednesday showed that the number of job seekers registered at employment offices in France totaled 3.011 million at end-August. This was the first time since 1999 that the figure exceeded 3 million.

This marked an increase of 23,900 or 0.8 percent from July. Year-on-year, unemployment rose 9.2 percent, the report said. The number of unemployed has now increased for sixteen consecutive months.

The three million unemployed reflects the failure of economic and social policies undertaken during previous years, the ministry said in a statement.

Amid deepening debt crisis in Eurozone, many major companies have announced their plans to cut thousands of job in France this year, including Peugeot, Sanofi, Air France, and Carrefour.

The statistical office Insee said earlier this month that the jobless rate under the definition of International Labor Organization increased to 10.2 percent in the second quarter from 10 percent in the first quarter.

Official data Wednesday showed French consumer confidence dropped in September, weighed down by concerns over the economic prospects and harsh labor market conditions.

The French economy stagnated for a third consecutive quarter in the second quarter, but managed to avoid a recession. Nonetheless, the Bank of France forecasts 0.1 percent economic contraction in the third quarter.

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