French Jobless Claims Rise Again, Challenging Hollande

French jobless claims rose for a 12th month in April as companies trimmed payrolls, posing a challenge to newly elected President Francois Hollande.

The number of people actively looking for work rose by 4,300, or 0.1 percent, to 2,888,800, the Labor Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement from Paris. Three economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expected claims of between 2.89 million and 2.91 million.

With companies such as Air France-KLM, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Carrefour SA looking to reduce costs, unions are pressing Hollande to make good on a campaign promise to prevent a wave of firings. Bernard Thibault, leader of France’s CGT union, estimated yesterday that 45,000 French jobs are at risk in coming months.

“Decisions need to be taken on certain situations urgently,” Thibault said after meeting with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

France’s economy didn’t expand in the first quarter and the Bank of France estimates that it may fail to grow in the second quarter as well. The nation’s unemployment rate stood at 9.8 percent at the end of last year.

Jobless claims were last above 2.9 million in September 1999.

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