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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: 20.600 chômeurs de plus en août par rapport à juillet

by Gérard Le Puill

20,600 More Jobless in August Than in July

Translated Thursday 22 October 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

There are now 5.7 million people registered at Pôle emploi, including 3.8 million in category A who did not do a single hour of paid work in the month. Despite the increase in the number of gifts offered to the bosses, the job situation is worsening from one month to the next.

And so unemployment went up again in August. Now, 3.8 million job-seekers are registered in category A at Pôle emploi, the French jobs and unemployment office, that is, 20,600 more than at the end of July. If one adds the other people on the jobless roster, but who are classed in categories B or C because they did a few hours paid work in the month, the total number of people registered at Pôle emploi comes to 5.7 million people. This is an overall combined increase of 8,500 people in the three categories of job-seekers. Between August 2014 and August 2015, the total number of unemployed rose by 348,400.

August 2015 was tough on job seekers aged over 50, whose rate of unemployment increases every month due to the hardening of conditions for retiring and also due to the fact that the subsidized jobs offered to young people cost the bosses less. As a result, long-term unemployment is up 10.6% year on year.

In May 2012, just after François Hollande was elected president, the number of category A job-seekers was 2,922,100 people. Four months later, the French president stated on the TF1 television network, on September 9, 2012: “Unemployment is not an inevitability and I will reverse the curve.”

In November of the same year, a 0.6% fall in the number of people registered at Pôle emploi, led Michel Sapin, the Minister for Labor at the time, to state on the BFM television network: “the unemployment curve has now been reversed.” But in December 2012 there were 3,132,500 category A job-seekers in France, which was 210,400 more than in May 2012.

François Hollande was made prudent by these figures, and during his visit to the Agricultural Salon on February 23, 2013 he stated that 2013 would be “marked by an increase in joblessness,” before adding that “in 2014 we will be in an economic revival.” In December 2013, there were 3,307,300 category A jobless, that is 174,800 more in one year.

This continual worsening of the job situation led François Hollande to state on April 18, 2014, during a visit to the Michelin factories in Clermont-Ferrand: “If joblessness doesn’t fall by 2017, I will either have no reason to run or no chance of being elected.”

Simple good sense suggests that the man who said “I will reverse the unemployment curve” in September 2012 was also hinting that there would be fewer unemployed people registered at Pôle emploi by the end of his term in 2017 than when he began his term in 2012.

The Clermont-Ferrand statement no longer says that. It suggests that if the curve is reversed by the end of his term, the French president will have kept his word and that it will be legitimate for him to run for re-election.

This is also what Martine Aubry said more clearly in a statement reported on September 25 by the Agence France Presse in these terms: “We still have time to reverse the unemployment curve and I wish François Hollande success. And if he succeeds, which is what I hope, he must effectively be the candidate of the left. So I’m not talking about a primary so long as we haven’t fought the battle to the end.”

At this point, we set aside the last sentence, which relates to internal Socialist Party politicking with a view to the next presidential election. But between François Hollande’s move into the French presidential palace and August 31, 2015, we have experienced 40 months of growth in unemployment in France which translates into an additional 877,900 job-seekers just in category A.

For unemployment just in category A to be lower in May 2017 than in May 2012, it would be necessary for the number of jobless to shrink by 43,895 a month on average from now until that date. In that case, the presidential promise will have been kept. But not with three or four successive months of reversal of the curve at the end of his term, as Martine Aubry seems to suggest and as François Hollande also hopes.

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