Embattled French president Francois Hollande’s pledge to “reverse the curve” of unemployment last year has come back to haunt him, as figures released Monday showed a further increase in the ranks of France’s jobless.
Conservative opposition figures leapt on the new report from the national employment office, which showed the number of job seekers rose 0.3 percent in December, to 3.3 million. Hollande, whose popularity remains near record lows, made reversing the unemployment trend one of his key aims last year.
UMP party leader Jean-Francois Cope called for the dismissal of labor minister and Hollande confidante Michel Sapin.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault claimed the figures showed a “stabilization” in unemployment, but said that “we must go further and faster” against joblessness, which stands at 11.1 percent.