France unemployment marginally higher in third quarter

Job seekers wait to speak with staff at a National Agency for Employment (Pole Emploi) office in Aubervilliers
Job seekers wait to speak with staff at a National Agency for Employment (Pole Emploi) office in Aubervilliers, near Paris, France, December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

November 19, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) -France’s unemployment rate ticked marginally higher in the third quarter but remained at levels seen before the COVID-19 crisis, according to official data published on Friday.

The unemployment rate edged up to 8.1% in the third quarter – the same rate seen at the end of 2019 – up from 8.0% in the previous three months, the INSEE statistics agency said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast an unemployment rate of 7.8% for the third quarter.

As the French economy rebounds from the pandemic, a shortage of labour has emerged in some sectors as firms struggle to meet booming consumer demand.

However, the unemployment rate has not fallen in sync since there are also more people looking for work as people who sat on the sidelines during the crisis return to the labour market.

As consumer spending has bounced back following a mass vaccination campaign, the French government has raised its growth forecast several times this year and is currently expecting growth of 6.25%.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Philippa Fletcher)