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French unemployment hits a new record in fresh blow for Hollande

PARIS -- Unemployment in crisis-hit France struck a new high in July, official statistics published Wednesday showed, in another blow for the deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande.

The labour ministry said there were now 3.424 million people out of work, a rise of around 26,000. The 0.8-percent rise compared to the previous month was the ninth consecutive gain in the monthly unemployment figures.

“This rise reflects zero growth in the eurozone and in France,” Labour Minister Francois Rebsamen said in a statement.

According to the latest quarterly figures published by national statistics office INSEE, the rate in the first quarter in France was 10.1 percent. Figures for the second quarter are due to be released on Sept. 4.

France, Europe's second biggest economy, is battling a political and economic crisis seen as the worst since Hollande took power more than two years ago.

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