The French government just released some pretty painful economic data.
The country’s latest unemployment statistics show the worst joblessness situation for nearly 20 years. The quarterly rate hit 10.6% according to INSEE, France’s statistical agency. Unlike most of the eurozone, where unemployment is in slow decline, France’s has been picking up.
Eurostat has slightly different figures, which put the French unemployment rate at 10.8% in October.
That’s an important level — because it means French unemployment is now higher than the eurozone as a whole for the first time in very nearly 8 years.
Here’s how it looks:
Back in mid-2013, at around the time the eurozone’s recession ended, unemployment in the bloc as a whole was at 12.1%, 1.7 percentage points higher than France’s 10.4%.
But that was the recent peak for eurozone unemployment. Since then, it’s slowly declined, dropping to 11.9% at the beginning of 2014, 11.2% at the beginning of this year, and 10.74% now.
French unemployment has been above the eurozone level for two months now, and is actually higher than it was when the recession ended.
It’s a pretty brutal indictment of France’s economic climate. Though the country had a less severe recession than many others following the financial crisis, and didn’t slump dramatically during the 2010-2012 euro crisis, it’s been surpassed by the UK and Germany in terms of post-crash GDP, despite both having more initial severe downturns:
Two and a half years after the euro crisis ended and a year and a half after the region exited recession, Europe’s second biggest economy is still struggling for a meaningful recovery.
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