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Hollande sticks to jobs pledge despite gloomy forecasts

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

French President Francois Hollande stuck Wednesday to a key campaign pledge to begin bringing down unemployment by the end of this year, despite a new forecast by the OECD that it will keep rising through 2014.

"Despite all the difficulties, the recession which has gripped us for six months now...", the objective "remains to reverse the trend in unemployment," said Hollande.

The OECD forecast on Wednesday that France's unemployment rate would rise to 10.7 percent this year and 11.1 percent next year.

France's unemployment rate hit a 14-year high of 10.6 percent at the end of last year, and at 3.2 million the number of registered jobseekers is at a 16-year peak.

With the French economy to contract this year and recover only modestly next year, the OECD said "the unemployment rate would therefore continue to increase until the end of 2014."

"I'm not in a forecasting contest, I'm not betting on the future ... I am implementing policies which at the end of 2013 should reverse the trend of rising unemployment and then, in 2014 continue to reduce joblessness," said Hollande.

The French president has stuck to his jobs campaign pledge despite a series of economic forecasts recently showing unemployment is set to continue to rise for some time to come.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130614/hollande-sticks-jobs-pledge-despite-gloomy-forecasts