PARIS (Reuters) - France’s jobless total rose in March to a 10-month high, reversing a series of recent declines in an increase that could drag unemployment into the focus of the country’s presidential election, Labour Ministry data showed on Wednesday,
The number of people registered as out of work in mainland France rose by 43,700 from February to 3,508,100, up 1.3 percent over one month but down 0.9 percent over one year.
President Francois Hollande has been haunted by high unemployment throughout his five-year term mandate ending next month.
Recent decreases in the jobless total have come to too little, too late for him to be able to claim that he had lived up to promises to get unemployment on a convincingly downward trend, dashing his hopes of running for second term.
The new surge could refocus public attention on unemployment as centrist Emmanuel Macron, once Hollande’s top economic advisor, faces far right leader Marine Le Pen in a May 7 runoff vote for the presidency.
Nonetheless, a monthly consumer confidence survey published earlier on Wednesday showed households concerns about unemployment had fallen in April to the lowest point since June 2008.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by John Irish