French consumer morale down further on jobs fears


French consumer confidence fell in October to its lowest level in nine months as record unemployment weighed further on household morale, a survey showed on Friday.

The INSEE official statistics office said its consumer confidence index fell to 84 points from 85 in September, the lowest level since February.

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The result, well below the long-term average of 100, was in line with economist expectations and underlined how close the euro zone's second largest economy is to all-out recession.

The survey showed respondents' concerns about unemployment had eased slightly though remained elevated, well above the long-term average.

The number of people out of work rose in September for the 17th month running to hit the highest level since March 1999, according to Labour Ministry figures published on Wednesday.

With more than 3 million people out of a job, the unemployment rate has topped 10 percent of the workforce and the Socialist government has warned the trend is unlikely to reverse until well into next year.

France's 2-trillion-euro economy has registered no growth over the last three quarters as both consumers and business entrench while Europe's debt crisis drags on.

A separate INSEE survey on industrial demand showed companies in the sector considered that the outlook for the months ahead had improved slightly though it remained weak.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Mark John)