French unemployment at record high

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French unemployment has hit a record high with more than 3.3 million people now registered as out of work.

In December, 10,200 more people were listed as jobless, breaking President Francois Hollande's promise joblessness would fall by the year end.

The French unemployment rate is now 11.1%. It went up by 5.7% in 2013, and rose 0.3% in December.

In Ankara, Turkey, Mr Hollande said ahead of the release: "Stabilisation, which we have achieved, is not enough."

Mr Hollande, whose popularity is languishing at record lows, had made reversing the trend in unemployment one of his top priorities last year.

The French Labour Ministry said the rate of unemployment appeared to be slowing, with 177,800 people joining the jobless register in 2013 compared to 283,800 in 2012.

But economist Eric Heyer at think tank OFCE said most of the improvement was due to state-sponsored jobs rather than a real recovery in the broader economy.

He said Hollande's tax break plans would not come to fruition until at least 2016, ruling out any quick turnaround in the labour market.

Mr Heyer added: "For the private sector to create jobs, you need growth stronger than 1%, whereas the government sees growth of 0.9% this year."

Earlier this month the French president had announced tax breaks for companies that committed to hiring more workers, in an effort to ease unemployment.

He also promised that by 2017 he would phase out 30bn euros ($41bn, £25bn) of charges paid by companies for family benefits - if they accept targets for hiring and domestic investment.

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