With an election looming, there was more bad news for France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy in the latest jobs figures.
In January French unemployment was the worst in 12 years with 2.86 million people out of work.
If Paris used the same calculations as the International Labour Organisation, the total would be even higher as that includes those who are “not working but who want to work”.
As French growth slowed in the final three months of last year, companies laid off employees and the unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent of the working population.
And for young people – under 25 – the total was almost one in four on the dole at 22.4 percent.
At the same time, Italian unemployment figures were released and they hit 9.2 percent in January.
That is the highest since Italy began recording monthly jobs data, eight year ago.
Throughout the eurozone, unemployment rose to a euro-era high of 10.7 percent in January.