French Unemployment Hits 15-Year High

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Unemployment rates in France soared in the third quarter to their highest levels in more than 15 years, The Wall Street Journal reports. French unemployment levels reached 10.9 percent, inching upward from the 10.8 percent that the French statistics bureau promulgated for this year’s second quarter.

While the increase is small, it is just one more signal that the French economy is plunging into stagnation — indeed, into a deep, prolonged recession — rather than a turnaround that many have promised for Europe moving into 2014. The 10.9 percent figure is the highest level of unemployment the country has seen since 1998.

The numbers also indicate that the situation in France has not gotten much better over the summer months. Because unemployment and employment data tend to lag behind initial market gauges like activity indexes, many had banked their hopes on such statistics to offset disappointing French performances in other indicators. Clearly, this is no longer an option.

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