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France's unemployment rate hits 16-year high


08:56, April 26, 2013

PARIS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- France had more than 3.2 million people without work in March, a record high since January 1997, it was reported Thursday.

According to the Labor Ministry's monthly data, 36,900 jobseekers more entered the sluggish job market last month, up by 1.2 percent compared to February's figures.

Year-on-year, the unemployment rose by 11.5 percent. The figures come as a fresh blow to the Socialist government that pledged to turn around the economy by the end of 2013.

"Our country must reverse (the situation). The president of the republic stressed again that today more than ever, the gathering of the country should be on what is expected by many of our compatriots: employment, recovery, confidence," the ministry said.

Speaking to the local news channel BFMTV, Thierry Lepaon, general secretary of workers' union CGT, urged measures to ease the alarming growing jobless rate.

"For 24 months, the unemployment figures have risen mechanically. We need a strategy to say that our priority is jobs and it is the industry," he said.

"If the priority is job creation, it is necessary that the state decides whether France is still a country where industry is a significant sector, to refine our products in our country and to build cars in our country," Lepaon added.

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