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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
French jobless rate falls in June
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, right, with a French job seeker
France's government has pledged to fight high unemployment
Unemployment in France fell for the first time in four years in June, according to government figures.

France's jobless rate fell by 28,000 to 2.7 million, or 10.1% of the workforce, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The fall mirrored data released on Thursday which showed a drop in German unemployment to 11.8% of the workforce.

The eurozone's two biggest economies have been struggling to deal with unemployment levels which have remained stubbornly close to recent highs.

Economists had predicted that France's jobless rate would stay unchanged at a five-year high of 10.2%.

'Long battle'

The fall in June should come as welcome news to recently appointed French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who has pledged to make tackling joblessness a top priority of his government.

Finance minister Thierry Breton said there had been "an indisputable improvement" during the month.

However, he added: "It is a long-term battle. There is still a long way to go."

The high level of French unemployment has dented confidence on the High Street, with many consumers unwilling to make big purchases.

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28 Jul 05 |  Business
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11 Feb 05 |  Business

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