French Joblessness Jumps to 2016-High as Attacks Hurt Hotels

  • Labor minister blames terrorism for lack of summer hiring
  • Increase distances Hollande from goal of cutting unemployment

French jobless claims jumped in August to the highest this year in an increase that the government blamed on a lack of summer hiring among hoteliers and restaurateurs.

The number of people actively looking for work rose by 50,200, or 1.4 percent, to 3.56 million in August, the Labor Ministry said today in a statement.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 200 people have been killed by terrorists in France with the latest attack coming in Nice on July 14. The repeated assaults have kept some foreigners away and had a knock-on effect on an industry that generates as much as 7 percent of French economic output.

“This result is significantly less favorable than in previous months and can be explained by the difficulties by sectors affected by the July attacks,” Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri said in a statement. The increase in August is “atypical,” she added.

August increase wipes out all of 2016’s improvement

The jobless figures have been erratic all year, showing declines in four months and increases in four. The net result is that the number of claimants remains near the record high of 3.59 million set in December, meaning that President Francois Hollande’s government has made little progress in generating jobs. The Socialist president has stated previously that reducing unemployment is a condition for seeking a second mandate in the 2017 election.

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