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French unemployment total hits highest since 1999

French unemployment total hits highest since 1999
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The ranks of France’s jobless continue to swell.

In the final three months of last year the total hit the highest level in more than 13 years.

The rise to 10.6 percent of the workforce is the sixth consecutive quarterly increase.

It was the latest bad news for the government which has pledge to reverse the upward trend by the end of the year and has had to admit it will fall far short of its growth and public deficit targets.

The French economy contracted 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Economists are forecasting an even bleaker picture in the months to come, with unemployment seen hitting an all-time high of 11.3 percent by the start of 2014.

The headline figure, based on the measurement criteria of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), was up 0.3 percentage points from the third quarter. It includes unemployment in mainland France and overseas territories.

The unemployment for mainland France alone was 10.2 percent.

Young people were hit the hardest, with just over a quarter of 15-24 year-olds unemployed.