Number of Unemployed in France Rose 1% in July

By William Horobin Features Dow Jones Newswires

The number of job seekers in France rose in July, more than reversing the decline in June and raising the stakes for President Emmanuel Macron as he prepares to push through contentious changes to labor laws.

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The number of category A job seekers--people registered as fully unemployed--rose 1% on the month to 3,518,100, the Labor Ministry said. That marked a 0.1% increase from August 2016.

The monthly count of job seekers is closely watched in France, where the unemployment rate is 9.5%, above the European Union average and more than twice the rate in Germany.

Mr. Macron is betting he can tackle unemployment by loosening labor laws and reducing financial and legal risks of layoffs that business leaders say discourage them from hiring. He plans to make the changes by decree mid-September.

But some labor union leaders plan to protest against the changes they say would reduce job security for workers and encourage companies to make layoffs. Mr. Macron's plans may also face increased resistance as his popularity has dropped sharply since he took office in May.

Write to William Horobin at william.horobin@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 24, 2017 12:32 ET (16:32 GMT)