French unemployment falls to pre-crisis levels in fourth-quarter, skewed by lockdown

French unemployment falls to pre-crisis levels in fourth-quarter, skewed by lockdown
  • Clock-gray 13:51
  • calendar-gray 16 February 2021

Unemployment in France fell to pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of 2020, though the data was partially skewed by a six-week COVID-19 lockdown during which jobseekers were unable to register as jobless, the INSEE statistics office said, APA reports citing Reuters.

Unemployment in the euro zone’s second biggest economy fell 1.1 percentage points to 8%, official data showed on Tuesday. That compared with a revised 9.1% in the third quarter and 8.1% in the last three months of 2019.

Unemployment fell fastest amongst 15-24 year olds, and marginally quicker among women than men. The number of workers on a long-term contract edged higher to 49.8% from 49.2% in the previous quarter as some hiring activity resumed, INSEE said.

Before the pandemic struck, President Emmanuel Macron had been chasing a goal of 7% unemployment by the end of his five-year term in 2022. He inherited a jobless rate of 9.5% in May 2017 and set about liberalising the labour market.

The French jobless rate stood above 10% throughout the 2012-2017 term of Macron’s socialist predecessor, Francois Hollande.

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