by AFP/ pic by AFP
PARIS – France’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in the second quarter to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in a decade, the national statistics agency Insee said Wednesday, confirming a moderate downward trend begun in mid-2015.
On the French mainland, the rate fell 0.2 points compared with the first quarter to 8.2 percent, or 2.4 million jobless.
The level stood at 8.5 percent when French overseas territories were included, also down 0.2 points over the first three months of 2019 to the lowest level since 2009.
The fall in the number of jobless mirrors the situation in the wider eurozone, where unemployment fell to an 11-year low of 7.5 percent of May.
France, however, has long been one of the poorer performers among major EU economies.
Pro-business President Emmanuel Macron, like his socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, has made bringing down the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate his top priority.
He has loosened the country’s labour laws, cut corporate taxes and pushed through a law requiring people to work for longer before claiming unemployment benefits in order to encourage hiring.