Unemployment in France at 10-year low

President Emmanuel Macron at the Jardin du Luxembourg on 10 May, 2019.REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Elsewhere in Europe

Unemployment in Germany, which has the biggest economy in Europe, hit its lowest rate since reunification in 1990 in April, with only 4.9 percent of the workforce looking for a job.

British unemployment is at a 45-year low of 3.8 percent despite the economic turmoil created by Brexit.

French workers benefit from higher levels of job protection, but the downside is that employers are more reluctant to hire because it is harder to shed staff when they want or need to.

The French economy has improved but it has also been held back by gilets jaunes protests that often target city centres on Saturdays, making shopping a hazardous activity at times.

In 2018, French gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1.5 percent, down from 2.3 percent in 2017 owing in part to weaker consumer demand.

In the first quarter of 2019, French GDP grew by a steady 0.3 percent according to data compiled by the European Union’s statistics service Eurostat.

British GDP rose by 0.5 percent meanwhile, while in Germany, where business activity stalled in the second half of 2018, it gained 0.4 percent.

Macron now wants to offer 5.0 billion euros in tax cuts to those whose wages are at the low end of the scale in response to almost six months of protests over living standards by the anti-government gilets jaunes.

Source: RFI