14 Feb 2019
The INSEE statistics institute revealed that France’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.8% in Q4 2018, recording its lowest level since 2009 – despite recent “yellow vest” anti-government protests.
France 24 reports that in metropolitan France, the unemployment rate was at 8.5%, which was 90,000 less from the previous quarter.
Macron had pledged to reduce unemployment to 7% by 2022, easing labour laws to simplify the process of hiring and firing workers while working towards decreasing the number of short-term contracts.
Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud welcomed the unemployment drop, saying, “employers, especially small firms, are no longer afraid to hire.”
She went on to say: "We have grown so used to mass unemployment in France that sometimes we just think we should give up. No, we shouldn't give up, we must push forward.”
Penicaud added that the yellow vest protests may have caused small businesses to suffer, as around 72,000 people had to file for unemployment benefits as a result of some businesses closing temporarily or having to lay off workers.
INSEE also revealed that youth unemployment seemed to be easing, dropping 1.7 points to 18.8% when compared with Q3.
Long-term unemployment had also decreased by 0.3 points at 3.4% of the working population. Meanwhile, unemployment for the over 50s remained stable at 6.1%.