Jobless blow for Chirac

Paris - President Jacques Chirac's election pledge to cut unemployment suffered a setback yesterday with the publication of figures showing that the jobless total rose in September for the second month running, writes Mary Dejevsky.

The increase, of 28,000, or 1 per cent, compared with August, brought the total number of people seeking work to 2,952,100, or 11.5 per cent of the active population.

The franc, which had risen after Mr Chirac's pledge last Thursday to cut the budget deficit, fell back after the figures were announced.

The government had hoped the 0.9 per cent rise in August was an anomaly. A worrying feature was the 5.1 per cent rise in the number of men under 25 looking for jobs: government measures have concentrated precisely on this group, and on the long-term unemployed.