Unemployment in France has gone up slightly in the third quarter, the national statistics office has reported. It's bad news for President Hollande, who staked his job on a vow to bring down joblessness.
France's unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percent to 9.7 percent in the third quarter after a mid-year drop, the statistics office Insee reported Thursday.
The agency said there were 2.8 million unemployed in mainland France in the July-to-September period.
For all of France including its overseas population, third-quarter joblessness stood at a stubbornly high 10.0 percent - also up 0.1 percent.
Thursday's figures were the last before an expected announcement by President Francois Hollande on whether he'll stand for re-election next year. The Socialist leader had staked his presidency on a pledge to make a credible dent in unemployment.
When he took office in May 2012, joblessness stood at 9.3 percent in mainland France and 9.7 percent overall.
Seeing his election promise marred by failure to reduce unemployment, Hollande has been keen to show voters he's brought France's finances down from record deficits.
The government said in September it aimed to cut the deficit to a decade-low 2.7 percent of GDP next year from 3.3 percent in 2016, thus bringing it in line with an EU-imposed limit of 3.0 percent.
But France's independent fiscal watchdog has expressed doubt that Paris will be able to cut the public deficit as much as planned, saying the government's growth forecasts have been "overly optimistic."
hg/sgb (AFP, Reuters)