Paris (AFP)

The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 point in the second quarter to 8.5% of the workforce in France (excluding Mayotte), continuing its downward trend, according to figures published by INSEE Wednesday.

This is a lower level since early 2009, says INSEE, as in the previous quarter. France excluding Mayotte has 2.52 million unemployed.

In metropolitan France alone, the unemployment rate also fell by 0.2 percentage points to 8.2%, which represents 2.4 million unemployed, ie 66,000 fewer unemployed in the quarter.

Over one year, the unemployment rate for the whole of France (excluding Mayotte), measured by the National Institute of Statistics according to the standards of the International Labor Office (ILO), fell by 0.6 points.

In its quarterly economic outlook, INSEE has recently forecast that this rate will reach 8.3% at the end of 2019.

The unemployment rate has fallen below the 9% mark since the fourth quarter of 2018 and continues a slow decline since mid-2015.

For long-term unemployment, that is to say the unemployed who say they have been looking for a job for at least a year, the drop is 0.1 pt compared to the 1st quarter and -0.4 pt over one year, at 3.2%.

In metropolitan France, by age group, the unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds decreased from 0.6 percentage points to 18.6%, a 1.5 point decline over one year. That over 50 is down 0.2 pt to 6.1% (-0.2 year on year). 25-49 year olds are also down 0.2 point to 7.5%.

After falling sharply in the first quarter, the "halo around unemployment" rose sharply in the second quarter. These people who want to work but who are not counted because they do not actively seek or are not available immediately saw their number increase by 63,000 (-80,000 in the 1st quarter). This halo concerns about 1.5 million people.

The share of underemployment, ie people who want to work more, as part-time employees, is also down (-0.1 point over the quarter) to 5.2% of people in employment. Over one year, it fell by 0.7 pt.

Finally, the employment rate, ie the proportion of working 15-64-year-olds, remains almost stable at 66% (-0.1 pt). 15-24 year-olds (-0.3 pt) and increases for seniors (+0.2 pt).

© 2019 AFP