French unemployment hits 15-year high

The French state-run employment agency, Pole Emploi, faces an uphill battle. The country's unemployment rate hit a 15-year high in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest official estimates.

The unemployment rate in France continues to climb, hitting 10.4% in the first quarter of 2013. That's the highest level the country has seen since early 1998.

Including French territories and islands, the unemployment rate was 10.8%, according the latest unemployment estimates from France's national statistics agency, INSEE.

The French government has been struggling with a sluggish economy and rising unemployment for years.
A report released last month showed French gross domestic product shrank by 0.2% in the first three months of the year, which put the country back in recession.

"There are lots of internal issues that France needs to grapple with," said London-based Tom Bewick, chief economist at the International Skills Standards Organisation. "It needs to reform its labor laws so that its labor market is far more efficient."

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