A constant rise in unemployment
This depressed environment, together with a highly restrictive economic policy, leaves little room for hope of improvement. Unemployment is set to remain at record levels. INSEE predicts that the unemployment rate, which was 9.7% of the economically active population in the second quarter, "should be virtually stable, reaching 9.6% at the end of the year."
This factor, the cause of the biggest and most serious social divide, is therefore not about to ease up at all. It is important to remember that this figure is far from a full reflection of the social suffering endured by large numbers of people. The unemployment rate means that nearly 2.7 million people are seeking jobs. However, if job seekers who have been in temporary employment are included, the figure rises immediately to over 4.2 million people out of work, as the government's own statistics show in a report dated August, 2010 by the French national employment agency, Pôle Emploi.
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The underlying trend is even more alarming. Despite the minimal growth seen in 2010, these statistics show that the overall number of job seekers in all categories surged by 7.3% for the year to end-August. That figure alone deserves this verdict: France may have come out of recession in 2009, but unemployment has exploded.