French unemployment rate rises to 10 percent

AP News
Posted: Jun 07, 2012 3:20 AM

France's official statistics agency says the country's unemployment rate climbed to 10 percent in the first quarter _ the highest level in more than 12 years.

The Insee statistics institute reports a 0.2 percentage point increase in the jobless rate in France and its overseas holdings, based on International Labor Organization standards _ equaling the 10 percent mark last hit in the fourth quarter of 1999. In mainland France alone, the jobless rate rose to 9.6 percent, up 0.3 percentage point _ the highest quarter-over-quarter gain in more than two years.

Insee did not provide details about the causes for the upticks in its brief report released Thursday.

High unemployment and sluggish economic growth in France were seen as important factors behind Socialist Francois Hollande's victory last month over conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, then the incumbent, in the French presidential election.