2013 will be a crucial year for the French economy and the government which targets a public deficit of under three percent of GDP in 12 month’s time.
Keeping this promise will be vital to maintain international confidence, but the price to pay could be on the jobs market if growth is ignored in favour of cost-cutting.
The IMF said last week it did not think France could meet the target, but President François Hollande has staked his political future on stabilising the ship and warns 2013 will be no cakewalk.
Unemployment rose for the 19th straight month in November and now stands at 3,132,600, its highest for 15 years.
Hollande has said 2013 is the ‘year of the great battle for jobs’ for his government, and he knows the Socialists will be judged on their record here above all else. He has promised to create hundreds of thousands of state-subsidised jobs.
Worst affected were young jobseekers under 25 and those over 50, while the jobsmarket for the group in the middle was more or less static.