Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:50 UK

French youth unemployment rises

Workers protesting at job cuts
Workers have been protesting over job cuts

France saw its unemployment total grow by 36,400 in May, with young jobseekers suffering the biggest rises, official figures have shown.

The increase, which was smaller than rises seen in previous months, took the jobless count to 2.543 million.

It marked a 1.5% rise on a monthly basis and a 26.4% rise year-on-year, the Economy Ministry said.

Unemployment among jobseekers under the age of 25 in mainland France has risen by 41.1% in the last 12 months.

Workers have been striking in France in reaction to job cuts, as firms seek to reduce costs in the face of the wider slowdown.

The jobless figure - though the most commonly reported by the French press - is not based on the widely used International Labour Organisation standards and excludes an unemployment rate.

While the latest jobless figures are seen to be a slight improvement on April's jobless data France's economy faces challenges ahead.

On Wednesday France warned that it did not think it would cut its deficit enough to meet the European Union limit of 3% of economic output in 2012.

And the OECD predicted that France's debt would hit 86% of its economic output this year - exceeding the official forecast of 83%.

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