French Jobless Claims at Four-Month Low in Boost for Hollande

  • Socialist president says his re-election bid depends on jobs
  • Jobless claims have increased by 600,000 since May 2012

French jobless claims fell to a four-month low in January, reflecting the stop-start advance President Francois Hollande is making in cutting unemployment.

The number of people actively looking for work declined by 27,900 to 3.55 million, the Labor Ministry said in an emailed statement. That’s a 0.8 percent drop on the month.

Jobless claims are still up by about 600,000 since Hollande took office in May 2012, and France’s unemployment rate stands at 10.6 percent, roughly double the level of the U.K. and Germany.

Hollande has repeatedly said he won’t stand for re-election next year if he doesn’t reduce unemployment.

“I want to be judged on this issue,” Hollande said last week. “If there is no drop, you know what conclusion I will draw”

French unemployment agency Unedic predicted on Tuesday that jobless claims will decline by 25,000 this year as the state funds hiring under the guise of a training plan.

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