FR: ILO Unemployment Rate

Thu Nov 16 00:30:00 CST 2017

Consensus Actual Previous
Level 9.3% 9.4% 9.2%

Mainland unemployment increased by 62,000 to 2.72 million in the third quarter. This was enough to lift the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage points from an unrevised second quarter mark to 9.4 percent. This was its first rise since the second quarter of 2015 and its highest level since the end of last year. Including overseas territories, the rate also climbed a couple of ticks to 9.7 percent, similarly its highest mark so far in 2017.

The increase in the metropolitan rate was evenly split between men and women, the former now standing at 9.5 percent and the latter at 9.2 percent. In both cases the largest rises were seen in the 25-49-year-old category and, combined, the rate here was up fully 0.4 percentage points at 8.9 percent.

The disappointing jobless figures contrast with other signs of a strengthening economic recovery and underline the need for President Macron to pursue his far-reaching reform programme as vigorously as possible.

The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labour force. It is based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) definition of unemployment, which excludes jobseekers that did any work during the month and covers those people who are looking for work and are available for work. The report contains data on both total joblessness and just mainland unemployment; the latter is regarded as the more significant.

The data report the number of unemployed persons (quarterly average) for metropolitan France and for metropolitan France plus overseas departments. The metropolitan measure is regarded as the more useful guide.

The data provide a comprehensive report on how many people are looking for jobs and the unemployment rate. These numbers are the best way to gauge the current state as well as the future direction of the economy. Analysts in France and Europe tend to focus on the number of French out of work rather than the unemployment rate as we do in the U.S.

Despite the delay in publication of these data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If labor markets are tight, investors will be alert to possible inflationary pressures that could exist. If wage inflation threatens, it's a good bet that interest rates will rise; bond and stock prices will fall.