French Consumer Confidence Declines as Joblessness Climbs

French consumer confidence fell for a fourth month as surging jobless claims and a stalled economy stoked concern about future earnings.

Household sentiment dropped to 84 in October from 85 in September, national statistics office Insee said today in a release from Paris. Economists had expected a reading of 84, according to the median of 11 estimates gathered by Bloomberg News.

With companies such as Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU) and PSA Peugeot Citroen cutting thousands of staff, unemployment has risen for 17 straight months to its highest since 1999. That’s hurting confidence at a time when the French economy has failed to expand for three straight quarters.

“There is no prospect for improvement in the short run,” said Dominique Barbet, an economist at BNP Paribas in Paris. “The prospect for wage increase remains extremely thin, which will further reduce consumers’ demand.”

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