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French Unemployment Rate Falls

May 31, 2000

PARIS (AP) _ France’s unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent in April, the first time in nine years that it dropped below 10 percent, according to figures released today by the Labor Ministry.

The unemployment rate was 10 percent in March.

The ministry said that 2.3 million people were looking for work at the end of April, a fall of 77,000 job seekers compared with the previous month.

Labor Ministry Martine Aubry said in an interview on RTL radio that France ``was winning this battle that for the past 25 years has been eating away at our society.″

Aubry attributed the drop in unemployment to economic growth, which helped stimulate consumer spending as well as the government’s youth employment plan.

Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin made fighting unemployment one of his top priorities after the left won parliamentary elections in June 1997.

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