French Unemployed Rises to New Record in November

The number of unemployed people in France hit a new record high in November, figures showed Wednesday, increasing the challenge French President Francois Hollande faces to improve the eurozone's second-largest economy.

The number of unemployed--defined as registered job seekers who are fully unemployed--rose by 27,000 in November to hit 3.49 million, the labor ministry said. That represented a 0.8% increase from October, and a 5.8% rise from a year earlier. The monthly figure, which saw increases in each age category, has declined only once in the last year.

The record-high unemployment figure highlights Mr. Hollande's struggle to create jobs and spur hiring. Since he took power in May 2012, France has financed initiatives to sponsor jobs for young people and cut labor taxes in a bid to get employers recruiting. But the economy is growing only slowly, and the ranks of unemployed have swollen by over half a million.

French Labor Minister Francois Rebsamen said in a statement that the government will increase efforts to find long-term unemployed people new jobs, with a new plan to double the number of job-seekers getting "intensive support" by 2017.

"The improving economy in 2015 will be accompanied by an offensive strategy to fight unemployment," Mr. Rebsamen said.