The number of unemployed people in France resumed its rise in February, dashing hopes of a sustained improvement in the labor market.
The number of category A jobseekers–defined as registered job seekers who are fully unemployed–rose 0.4% in February from January to reach 3,494,400, data from the labor ministry showed. January had marked a 0.5% month-on-month decline after a long period of rising unemployment.
The ranks of the unemployed have swollen by around half a million since Francois Hollande took office in May 2012, despite the Socialist leader’s efforts to cut labor taxes and lift young people out of unemployment with state-sponsored jobs.
After the jobless number fell in January, labor minister Francois Rebsamen already urged caution and told observers to look at the longer term trend.
Still, lower oil prices and a weaker euro–which helps France’s exporters–have raised optimism recently. Earlier Wednesday, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said the government’s 1% economic growth forecast for this year is more and more certain and the question now is whether the economy will outperform that target.