Paris - The unemployment rate in mainland France climbed to 10.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, breaching the 10-per-cent barrier for the first time since 1999, the national statistics agency INSEE said Thursday.
The unemployment rate for all of France, including overseas territories, stood at 10.6 per cent, INSEE said.
Unemployment has been steadily expanding since mid-2011, with young people the worst affected by the crisis.
Over a quarter - 25.7 per cent - of people aged 15-24 are out of work, an increase of 3.4 percentage points over the same period in 2011.
In all, some 2.9 million people in mainland France are jobless. But if those people who want to work but are not actively seeking work are also included, the figure rises to 3.7 million.
French President Francois Hollande has said he wants to halt the rise in unemployment by the end of 2013.
On Monday, however, he acknowledged that meeting the target in a climate of stagnant growth and mounting factory closures would be “difficult.” - Sapa-dpa