French official sees growth around zero in 2009

PARIS - French economic growth will be ‘close to zero’ this year as the financial crisis takes its toll, the top official for France’s economic recovery plan said Thursday.

By (AP)

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Published: Thu 22 Jan 2009, 6:53 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:25 PM

Patrick Devedjian, the recently appointed minister charged with putting in action France’s Ð26 billion ($33 billion) stimulus plan, said ‘I don’t make forecasts. We don’t know how the crisis is going to evolve...but in any case, we’re close to zero’ growth in 2009.

The government’s most recent forecast for 2009 is for economic growth of between 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent, while the European Commission expects the French economy to contract by 1.8 percent this year.

In the interview on French television channel France-2, Devedjian also warned that unemployment in France is likely to worsen in the coming months.

‘We saw the figures last month were not good,’ Devedjian said, ‘It’s likely that we won’t have good figures in the months to come.’

The unemployment rate in France rose to 7.7 percent in the third quarter of 2008 from 7.6 percent in the second quarter, according to figures released last month.

Since then, the number of job seekers has grown at an accelerating pace, rising 2.4 percent in October and 3.2 percent in November, the fastest month-on-month rise since 1993. At the end of November, more than 2 million people were out of work in France.

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