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France Jobless Rate Falls Slightly In Q1

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France’s unemployment rate decreased unexpectedly in the first quarter, though marginally, data from the statistical office INSEE showed on Tuesday.

The ILO jobless rate eased to 7.3 percent in the March quarter from 7.4 percent in the December quarter. Economists had forecast the rate to remain stable at 7.4 percent.

The rate had fallen 0.6 points in the previous quarter.

The jobless rate decreased by 0.8 percent over the year and stood 0.9 points below its pre-crisis level of 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the statistical office said.

The rate had earlier dropped below 7.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Excluding that instance, the latest unemployment rate was the lowest since 2008, the INSEE said.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 18,000 over the quarter to reach 2.2 million.

The youth unemployment rate, which applies to the 15 to 24 age group, climbed to 16.3 percent in the first quarter from 16.0 percent in the preceding three-month period.

Data also showed that the employment rate increased to 68.0 percent in the March quarter from 67.8 percent in the previous quarter. This was the highest employment rate since INSEE started measuring the same in 1975.

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