French Jobless Claims Decline for First Time This Year

French jobless claims fell in August, only the third monthly decline since Francois Hollande became president more than two years ago.

The number of people actively looking for work in France dropped by 11,100 to 3.41 million, the labor ministry said today in an e-mailed statement.

Jobless claims have risen in all except three months over the past three years, lifting the total to a record 3.42 million last month. With the economy still barely growing and Hollande’s government trying to slash spending, the August decline risks being a blip, economists say.

“Growth is much too weak to generate a sustainable drop,” said Michel Martinez, an economist at Societe Generale in Paris. “This is good news but one number doesn’t make a trend.”

The French finance ministry cut its growth forecasts this month, saying that it expects gross domestic product to expand just 0.4 percent this year and 1 percent in 2015. The economy failed to grow in both of the first two quarters of this year.

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