French job security hits highest since 2008 in election month

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French consumer confidence was undented by the country’s first round presidential election this month, holding steady at the highest levels since 2007.

A measure of the country’s household sentiment registered 100 for the fourth consecutive month in April as voters in the eurozone’s second largest economy went to the polls in an election pitting two anti-EU, anti-establishment candidates against more market-friendly contenders.

But like their counterparts in the private sector, French consumers were unruffled by the uncertainty generated by the vote. Stats body Insee reported household fears over unemployment were now at their lowest level since the financial crisis in 2008, dropping 4 points in April.

France’s jobless rate has struggled to fall into single digits under the last five years of its Socialist government and stood at 10 per cent in February. Still, broader eurozone unemployment has declined impressively to a seven-year low as the recovery has picked up speed this year.

French consumer assessments of their future financial situations remained steady while more spenders thought now was a better time to make a big purchase. Saving intentions also inched up 1 point this month.

Separate figures from Insee yesterday showed French manufacturing firms are reporting their best health since the eurozone crisis in 2010, while overall business confidence is around six year highs.

Having lagged behind its major eurozone rival Germany, France’s economic recovery has finally picked up momentum at the start of the year, with survey data all pointing to robust growth in 2017.

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