Friday, September 4, 2009

France’s unemployment rate climbs

"France’s unemployment rate climbed to the highest in at least three years in the second quarter as companies cut jobs in an effort to squeeze costs after the worst recession since World War II.

The jobless rate rose to 9.5% from a revised 8.9% in the first quarter, Paris-based statistics office Insee said today. Excluding France’s overseas territories, the unemployment rate increased to 9.1% from a revised 8.5% in the first three months of the year.

While France exited a yearlong recession in the second quarter, with gross domestic product expanding 0.3%, economists expect more job cuts as companies implement decisions taken when the economy was shrinking.

“Assuming the turning point in the economy came in the second quarter, that would imply unemployment peaking at the beginning of 2010 at the earliest,” Laurent Bilke, an economist at Nomura International in London, said by phone before today’s report. “Jobs decisions are very heavy, they’re the last thing you adjust.”

Companies such as Alcatel-Lucent SA and Air France-KLM Group are trimming their workforces to match weaker sales triggered by the recession.

Almost 700,000 jobs will be shed in 2009, Insee forecast last month. So far this year, 420,900 jobs have been lost, according to Labor and Finance Ministry numbers.

The government is preparing for further job cuts this year by hiring employment agencies to help jobseekers find temporary work. In June, the Finance Ministry began offering 1,000 euros (1,428) to companies for every person hired as an apprentice in an effort to combat youth unemployment. The measure is scheduled to remain in place for one year."

Source: Reuters


This is an interesting piece. During the last conference call, Manpower said that the French market has stabilized. It will be interesting to hear Manpower provide more color regarding their French market where they are the market leader if they indeed see this market stabilize. The European market continues to see high unemployment rate and bleak signs of an upturn. Although France and Germany have seen an up tick, it remains to be determined to see if this is sustainable.

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