RTTNews - French jobless rate surged to its highest level in three years in the second quarter, the statistical office INSEE said on Thursday.

The jobless rate in metropolitan France and overseas departments stood at 9.5% in the second quarter, up from a revised 8.9% in the previous quarter.

Excluding overseas territories, the jobless rate in metropolitan France increased to 9.1% in the second quarter from 8.5% in the previous quarter.

According to the INSEE, the last time a 9.1% jobless rate was recorded was at the start of 2006. The first quarter jobless rate was revised from 8.7% estimated initially.

On August 14, INSEE reported that payroll employment in principally market sectors continued to decline in the second quarter, but fell less markedly. In the second quarter, the decline in employment was 74,100 compared to 168,400 in the prior quarter. The reduction in the decline was mostly due to the stabilization of temporary employment.

The French economy unexpectedly grew in the second quarter on higher government spending and global demand, ending four straight quarters of economic contraction. The gross domestic product increased 0.3% sequentially in the second quarter, compared to the 1.3% fall in the first quarter.

The IMF forecasts France's real gross domestic product to drop by 3% in 2009, followed by a gradual recovery in 2010, reported on July 31.

In its latest report, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the global recovery from the recession is likely to arrive earlier than expected. The think-tank now sees a 2.1% contraction in France during 2009, smaller than its earlier forecast of a 3% shrinkage.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com