It comes too late for outgoing president Francois Hollande, but France’s economy is adding jobs – 49,400 in the first three months of the year.
It was the seventh straight quarter of net new job creation in the private sector and pushed up the size of the labour force in metropolitan France to 16.23 million – the highest level since the global financial crisis started to take a toll in late 2008.
The improvement was driven by the services sector, which created 56,200 new posts, offsetting falls in industry of 4,800 and 2,000 in construction.
Wage growth also accelerated, expanding by 0.6 percent between January and March, which was the best pace in three years.
There was also an increase in people working on short-term contracts – up by 8.9 percent over 12 months.
More jobs, but more jobseekers
The steady creation of new jobs, almost exclusively in services, since the second quarter of 2015, is gradually helping heal France’s labour market after huge job losses during the financial crisis.
However so far the increase has not been enough to bring unemployment substantially lower, partly because the number of people in the job market has also been rising.
France has one of the highest birth rates in Europe and the active working age population in France grows by about 150,000 people every year which means the number of jobs has to increase by much more than that to significantly reduce unemployment.
The unemployment rate was 9.7 percent of the potential workforce at the end of 2016.