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The number of people out work in France rose by just 300 in December.

That marks a pause after 19 straight months of bigger increases, but the total is still stuck close to its highest in almost 15 years.

The latest Labour ministry data showed that the number of registered job seekers in mainland France stood at just over three point one million.

France needs the economy to grow by 1.5 to 2.0 percent this year to make serious inroads on the dole queues but the latest IMF forecast is for growth of just 0.3 percent.

Analyst Mathieu Plane, with the private think tank OFCE, told euronews: “The main reason for the increase in unemployment in France is mainly cyclical growth is too weak to power job creation and reduce unemployment. It is a long way off the level that would reverse the unemployment trend, in other words a level which would create enough new jobs to absorb people coming into the labour force and reduce unemployment. “

The French government is spending two point three billion euros to create 100,000 jobs in the public sector and 50,000 private sector jobs by next year.

Labour Minister Michel Sapin said this is a battle that will take time to win, and he made the political point that the job situation was bad for a long time before the current government was elected.

Our Paris correspondent Giovanni Magi concluded: “The French government says employment is its priority. But everything suggests that, even if government policy is effective, there’s still a long way to go before they come out of the economic crisis.”

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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