World Bulletin / News Desk
WThe number of jobseekers in France rose for the 14th month in a row in June to hit its highest level in nearly 13 years, adding pressure on the new Socialist government, which has made fighting unemployment a top priority.
Labour ministry data released on Wednesday showed the number of registered jobseekers in mainland France rose by 23,700 last month to 2.946 million.
The jobless total was the highest since August 1999 and marked an increase of 0.8 percent over one month and 7.8 percent over one year.
"In the face of this situation, the government is fully mobilised," the labour ministry said in a statement.
President Francois Hollande rode to power in a presidential election in May vowing to tackle surging unemployment, but is struggling to halt waves of layoffs with the economy under threat of slipping into recession.
His government is battling to reduce the impact of 8,000 job cuts by French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, presenting on Wednesday a modest aid plan for the flagging automobile industry.
Hollande pledged during the election campaign to create 80,000 subsidised jobs and hire 60,000 people in the education sector as well as create a so-called "generation contract" to encourage companies to hire young workers.
The labour ministry also said that discussions about schemes for reduced working time would be held with unions and employers during the second half of the year with the aim to reach an agreement in January.
The ministry's data is the most frequently reported domestic jobs indicator for France, although it is not prepared according to widely used International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards nor expressed as an unemployment rate of number of job seekers compared to the total work force.
The unemployment rate hit the psychologically important level of 10.0 percent in the first quarter, the latest period for which ILO figures are available.
Since Britain voted last June to exit the European Union, the country's finance, car and airline sectors have been lobbying the loudest for continued access to the European single market.
France remained Germany's second largest trading partner while the US slipped from first to third place, as bilateral trade contracted by five percent to 165 billion euros.
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