French unemployment was supposed to keep rising… but it actually dropped in the second quarter, for the first time since the crisis, surprising analysts:
The jobless rate dropped to 9.7 per cent from 9.9 per cent in the three months through March, Paris-based statistics office Insee said today. Economists forecast an increase to 10 per cent, based on the median of seven estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
France’s economic expansion accelerated to 0.6 per cent in the second quarter from 0.2 per cent. With growth picking up, companies such as BNP Paribas SA, cosmetics maker L’Oreal SA and computer consultant Cap Gemini have said they are taking on workers. That helped jobless claims decline in both June and July after reaching a five-year high of 2.7 million.
“The job market is stabilizing and we hope that will continue,” Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said today on LCI television. “This is really good news for the economy.”