November 24, 2017 / 5:03 PM / a year ago

French jobless total edges higher in October despite job creation

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s jobless total rose slightly in October, partially reversing a record drop the previous month as a labour market recovery makes choppy progress, Labour Ministry data showed on Friday.

People walk past a Pole Emploi office (National Agency for Employment) in Paris October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The number of people registered as out of work in mainland France rose by 8,000 last month to 3,483,600, up 0.2 percent both over one month and one year, the ministry said.

A gradual improvement in the French economy and faster job creation has so far only translated into a gradual decrease in the number of jobseekers since a peak in October 2015.

The improvement is the private sector is also partially masked by an increase in jobless numbers due to the end of a hiring premium for small firms and a reduction in the number of government-subsidised job contracts. Graphic:

Economist say that can at least in part explain why official data last week showed that the jobless rate rose to 9.7 percent in the third quarter, from 9.5 percent in the previous three months despite surging business confidence.

President Emmanuel Macron, elected in May on pro-business reform platform, has pledged to bring the jobless rate down to 7 percent by the end of his mandate in 2022.

Macron’s first big reform was an overhaul of the labour code in September, designed to give companies more freedom to hire and fire in line with their needs, which firms say was long overdue.

Though it is still early to gauge the impact of the reform, the number of new jobs registrations with the ACOSS social security fund ticked up in October to a record 686,367, up 0.1 percent over one month and 8.0 percent over one year.

A survey by IHS Markit published this week also showed French companies added staff at the fastest pace since 2001 in November.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose

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