France's unemployment may still be stuck at near-record highs, but it remained mostly steady in December. The country's Labor Ministry told Bloomberg and other media outlets on Friday that the nation's unemployment claims rose by just 300 last month.
That brought France's total unemployment to approximately 3.113 million people. That total is still lower than the all-time national record set in 1998, but is still considered astronomical, and has sparked President Francois Hollande to label unemployment one of his "top priorities," according to the Bloomberg piece.
Here is some of the key information that emerged on Friday regarding France's unemployment rate.
* The nation's unemployment rate has risen steadily for the last 19 months. France's highest recent unemployment rate occurred in January of 1998.
* As noted by Reuters, the calculations by the Labor Ministry continue to be the most widely utilized in discussions about the nation's unemployment, but are not necessarily compiled using the international standards for such statistics.
* As such, the Labor Ministry's calculations do not represent the actual number of people in the nation that are actively looking for work or are employable.
* The unemployment rate in France is up 10 percent over the same time last year, according to reports by Reuters and other media outlets. The International Labor Organization (ILO) now estimates that unemployment in France has now risen to at least 10.3 percent.
* Euronews noted on Friday that France's economy needs to grow by a minimum of 1.5 to 2.0 percent in 2013 alone in order to stem the continuing increase in the number of people who are unemployed.
* Current economic projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predict that growth in the French economy is likely to peak at only 0.3 percent this year.
* The report by Euronews also noted that the French government has projected that it will spend some 2.3 billion euros this year in an effort to create up to 150,000 new jobs. Those jobs will be split between the public and private sectors.
* France's unemployment rate may be high, but it has not reached nearly the levels of some of Europe's other struggling economies. On Thursday, reports by the AFP and other media outlets indicated that Spain's overall unemployment rate has now risen to 26 percent. That number is equivalent to some 5.97 million people.
* France is Europe's second-largest economy. Spain has the fourth-largest economy.
Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.
- Unemployment Issues
- Politics & Government