Business, Economics and Jobs

French unemployment at a new high


Fake five hundred Euro banknotes are placed by Pole Emploi Strikers on the gates outside the Paris Stock Exchange on November 14, 2011. France needs to reform its economy to stave off a debt crisis.


Pascal Le Segretain

The number of unemployed in France rose to a new high in March, with some 3.2 million people looking for jobs.

The number has climbed to 11.5 percent more than last year and 1.2 percent more than the month before. The current number of unemployed is the highest the country has seen since records began in January 1996.

In an attempt to keep a promise he made to reverse the rise of unemployment in France, which has been increasing for 23 straight months, President Francois Hollande has launched subsidized youth-job schemes and made changes that will make hiring and firing more flexible.

More from GlobalPost: Spain's unemployment rate hits record 27 percent amid double-dip recession

But because of a new wave of industrial layoffs taking effect, the March jobless rate soared to 3,224,600, beating the previous record of 3,195,500 set in January 1997.

While the labor ministry data is the most frequently reported in France, it does not follow International Labor Organization standards and is not expressed as a percentage of job seekers in the work force.

Spain's unemployment rate also hit a record high of 27 percent in the first quarter of 2013. The previous record for the country was 26.02 percent in the last quarter, while the number of jobless climbed by 237, 400 people to 6.2 million.