Much to the joy of the French government, six month before the country’s presidential election, unemployment there has fallen to its lowest level in five years. It was 8.8% of the working population in September 5; down from 9% the previous month.
Government ministers are predicting further, substantial falls and economist Eric Heyer said that looks likely. He said “The same number of jobs has been created in one quarter as in all of last year. That’s definitely good news and we can expect approximately 200,000 jobs having been created in the private sector this year. That’s why the jobless total has fallen.”
Overall, the jobless rate is down by more than 1% in less than 18 months, while youth unemployment in France has fallen by 11.5% in the last year and the number of long term unemployed is down by 10% over the same time.
Critics said that the rapid decline in the unemployment rate is partly due to France’s aging population rather than government policies which include more support for job seekers and relaxing rules for fixed term contracts.