French jobless claims jumped to a 14-year high as a stalled economy prompted companies to trim payrolls and investment.
The number of people actively looking for work rose by 45,400, or 1.5 percent, to 3.103 million, the Labor Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement from Paris. Economists predicted an increase of 28,600, according to the median of six forecasts gathered by Bloomberg News.
The increase brings jobless claims to their highest since April 1998, increasing pressure on President Francois Hollande to tackle labor rules and costs in a push for competitiveness that he has promised by year-end.
With almost no economic growth in more than a year, French business confidence is near a three-year low and companies including Alcatel-Lucent SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) have announced plans to cut thousands of jobs in recent months as demand for their products slumps.
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