FILE PHOTO: Job seekers, wearing protective face masks, visit a National Agency for Employment (Pole Emploi) office in Nice after France reopened its agencies following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in France, May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
February 18, 2022
PARIS (Reuters) – France’s unemployment rate fell in the final quarter of last year to the lowest level since 2008, official data showed on Friday, boosting Emmanuel Macron’s economic credentials less than two months from a presidential election.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.4% from 8.0% in the previous three months, the INSEE statistics agency said. A Reuters poll of eight economists had an average forecast for 7.8%.
That was the lowest level of unemployment since the third quarter of 2008, with the exception of an artificial drop at the start of the pandemic because jobseekers could not look for work during a nationwide lockdown.
Widely expected to seek second five-year term in an election in April, Macron is heading into the vote with one of the strongest economic track records in generations for an incumbent president.
With growth last year of 7%, the European Union’s second-biggest economy grew the fastest in a more than five decades in 2021, boosting the labour market as firms struggled to keep up with a recovery in client demand.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sam Holmes)