PARIS (Reuters) – French unemployment nudged unexpectedly higher in the third quarter despite strong job creation in recent months, official data showed on Thursday.
The INSEE official statistics agency said the unemployment rate rose to 8.6% of the workforce in the third quarter from 8.5% in the previous three months.
A Reuters poll of 10 economists had forecast on average that the rate would keep declining, as it had in previous quarters, to 8.4%.
The increase in the unemployment rate comes even though the euro zone’s second biggest economy has managed to keep steadily adding new jobs despite a deteriorating international economic outlook. Jobless claims have also been falling steadily.
Yet even though the increase in unemployment remains small, it still marks a setback for President Emmanuel Macron as the improving labor market had been the strongest sign yet that his economic reforms are having an impact.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)