PARIS, March 6 (UPI) -- The unemployment rate in France hit a record high in the last quarter of 2014, according to data from the International Bureau of Employment.
The data, published in France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, shows that the rate of unemployment in France's biggest cities reached 10.4 percent in October, November and December 2014, while the rest of the country reached a staggering 10 percent. That's the highest unemployment rate France has seen in 16 years when comparable records began.
Analysts say the numbers could jump even higher by midyear, with 10.6 percent of all French citizens out of work in the country's largest cities, collectively known as the Métropole.
"The number of underemployed people is still rising, accounting for 6.5 percent of the people having a job. This further adds to the pool of available workforce in France," Dominique Barbet at BNP Paribas told the Business Insider
"Combining the low participation rate of young people (of which many are discouraged), the rising participation rate of elderly, the record unemployment rate and the rising share of employed people who are looking for more work, we get a picture of the French economy with plenty of idled labor resources."
France, the second-largest economy in the Eurozone, has been battling a ballooning deficit, sputtering economic growth and faltering confidence in President Francois Hollande.
Moreover, the country is still reeling from the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January that left 17 dead. By comparison, the United States added some 295,000 workers in February with a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, the lowest since 2008.
Late last month, Hollande pushed through a series of business-friendly economic reforms aimed at jumpstarting the economy, overriding the lower house of the French Parliament.
Hollande told Newsweek he questions a 2017 presidential bid without an improved job market.
"I spoke about reversing the trend in unemployment. It didn't happen. I was scrutinized for this, because it was the great hope of many, especially those looking for work. If I am not able to do it by the end of my term in office, do you really think I would stand before the French people in 2017? The French would be merciless and with good reason," he said.
Laurent Wauquiez, secretary-general of France's Union for a Popular Movement opposition party, bluntly compared the country's unemployment rate to the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and put the blame squarely on Hollande.
"The five year term of Francois Hollande is likely to be a Waterloo for jobs," he told Le Parisian. "The president had promised to reverse the unemployment curve for last year. The following year, we took 170,000 job seekers more. It's just a failure. "