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French jobless rate climbs to 10.6% in Q4

PARIS (AP) -- France's unemployment rate climbed again in the fourth quarter of last year, reaching 10.6 percent and bearing new pressure on the sluggish French economy as President Francois Hollande's Socialists roll out a controversial labor-market reform.

The national statistics agency Insee said Thursday said the jobless rate rose 0.3 percent point, from 10.3 percent in the third quarter of 2012.

Hit by concerns about high debt amid a slowing global economy, countries across Europe are struggling with high unemployment rates. While France has avoided the worst of the crisis thus far, its high and rising unemployment rate indicates its economy is also in trouble.

French unemployment has been climbing steadily since last year after dropping for a few quarters. It is now higher than at any time since 1999.