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French jobless rate rises to 7.8% in Q4

FRANCE'S jobless rate rose to 7.8 percent in the last three months of 2008, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous quarter, the official statistics agency reported today.

The financial and economic crisis became more acute at the end of last year, leading many companies to lay off workers.
All told, nearly 2.2 million in mainland France are jobless, the Insee agency said.

Including France's overseas regions - such as French Antilles islands, rocked in recent weeks by protest over bad economic conditions - the overall jobless rate was 8.2 percent, Insee reported.

Workers aged 15 to 24 were especially hard hit, with about one in five unemployed, the agency reported.

The institute's report comes a day after France's finance minister detailed a supplementary budget bill aimed to ease the impact of worsening economic conditions amid the global financial crisis.

Last month the government said there were 90,200 new job seekers in January, a 4.3 percent jump from December and the biggest monthly increase on record. The number of job seekers was 15.4 percent higher in January than a year earlier.


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