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French unemployment rate hits 37-year low as lockdown skews data - Metro US

French unemployment rate hits 37-year low as lockdown skews data

A National Agency for Employment (Pole Emploi) office in Antibes

PARIS (Reuters) – French unemployment fell to a 37-year low in the second quarter, as the continuation of a multi-year downtrend was exaggerated by a strict coronavirus lockdown that meant people were unable to look for work, INSEE statistics agency data showed on Thursday.

The jobless rate fell to 7.1%, from 7.8% in the first quarter, hitting its lowest level since the second quarter of 1983, when it stood at 7.0%.

INSEE warned that unemployment data for the first two quarters of 2020 was skewed because of the mid-March to mid-May lockdown, which reduced the number of those classified as unemployed by making it impossible for them to look for jobs.

The International Labour Organisation defines being unemployed as not working but being available to work and actively seeking a job – which was virtually impossible in many industries during lockdown.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Myriam Rivet; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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