French jobless claims rose to the highest in more than 12 years in May as stalling growth prompted companies to trim payrolls.
The number of people actively looking for work rose by 33,300, or 1.2 percent, to 2,922,100, the Labor Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement from Paris. Four economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expected claims of between 2.29 million and 2.91 million.
Faced with a sovereign debt crisis in its third year, governments across Europe are trying to reduce budget deficits, lowering demand for French goods and services at home and abroad. That’s prompted companies ranging from cement maker Lafarge SA to airline Air France-KLM Group and retailer Carrefour SA (CA) to reduce staff.
France’s economy didn’t expand in the first quarter and the Bank of France estimates that it may shrink in the second quarter for the first time since 2009. The nation’s unemployment rate stood at 9.8 percent at the end of last year.
Jobless claims were last above 2.9 million in September 1999.
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