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.
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The September rate was revised to 9.9 percent from the 10 percent first given last month.
Many analysts had expected the producers' cartel to fail to reach a deal as major players like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia remained divided ahead of the meeting.
The report, which collects views of economists, business contacts and others in the 12 Federal Reserve districts in preparation for the monetary policy meeting next month, noted improved retail sales and home construction in most regions.
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European air travel giant Lufthansa has been battling its own pilots over pay and conditions for more than two years.
Failure to get an accord on Wednesday could send oil prices tumbling and deal a further blow to the credibility of the 56-year-old Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Around midday, shares in Italian lenders Unicredit and Banco Popolare were down 4 percent compared with Friday's closing levels.
Officials on Friday's said the tie-up between the Hong Kong and Shenzhen markets will start on December 5.
The announcement comes as the country is gearing up for a key election next year, with the parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand right-left coalition keen to woo ageing voters.
The weak inflation data -- core prices excluding fresh food fell 0.4 percent from a year ago -- come several weeks after Japan's central bank pushed back the timeline for hitting its 2.0 percent inflation target.
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The Ifo's headline business confidence index reached 110.4 points in November, unchanged from the October reading, and the highest level since April 2014.
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Gross domestic product was expected to grow by only 1.4 percent next year -- sharply down from the prior estimate of 2.2 percent given in March.