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France Consumer Spending Fall Most In 9 Months As Jobless Hit Record High

France's consumer spending declined the most in nine months during October as unemployed climbed to a record high, official data revealed.

Household consumption decreased 0.9 percent monthly following a 0.5 percent fall in September, the INSEE said Friday. That was in contrast to economists' expectations for a 0.3 percent gain following September's originally reported 0.8 percent fall.

The latest fall was the worst since January, when spending declined 1.6 percent.

INSEE attributed the decline largely to a 6 percent drop in expenditure on energy products after a 0.5 percent slump in the previous month, due to seasonal factors.

Purchases of manufactured goods grew a modest 0.1 percent after a 0.5 percent fall in the previous month. Meanwhile, food consumption slid 0.1 percent following a 0.4 percent gain in September.

On a yearly basis, spending fell 0.2 percent in October. Economists were looking for a 1 percent gain.

Data from the Labor Ministry showed late Thursday that the number of unemployed climbed by 28,400 to a record 3.46 million in October. That marked a 0.8 percent from September and 5.5 percent from a year ago.

It was the biggest monthly increase since February and adds to concerns of failure of President Francois Hollande's pledge to reduce unemployment.

The government expects to benefit from a recovery in economic activity. In the third quarter, the French economy rebounded at the fastest rate in a year, expanding 0.3 percent from the previous three months.

The government has forecast 0.4 percent growth for this year. The latest INSEE survey showed that consumer confidence strengthened in November despite rising unemployment.

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