The unemployment rate in France was the highest in more than a decade at the end of 2012. Economists fear the jobs crisis in Europe's second biggest economy has not yet hit bottom as a recession is looming ever larger.
Between the months of September and December 2012, unemployment in France rose by 0.3 percent compared with the previous quarter, to reach a rate of 10.6 percent, according to latest figures released by the country's national statistics office, Insee.
As 2.9 million French were without a job at the end of last year, the figure was the highest since 1999, Insee said.
Economists expect French unemployment to continue rising as the country is facing weak or even negative economic growth in the first quarter of 2013. Europe's second largest economy already contracted for three of the last four quarters, increasing fears of a looming full-blown recession.
French president Francois Hollande has called 2013 year of the battle for work. In his New Year's address he vowed to curb rising joblessness by the end of the year. A labor market reform is at the centre of his efforts, seeking to reduce high structural unemployment and rising joblessness among young people.
According to the latest data, unemployment among people below 25 years of age rose to 25.7 percent in the final quarter of 2012.
uhe/mz (AP, dpa, AFP)