The number of registered French job seekers saw the sharpest monthly rise in three years rising to 2.99 million people in July, the 15th consecutive month the country's unemployment line increased, the labour ministry said Monday.
From the previous month, the number of registered job seekers rose by 41,300 people, the ministry said, on pace to break the three million mark next month.
Including the number of people working on reduced hours, 4.45 million people were hunting for jobs in mainland France in July, the ministry said, an increase of 58,300 people from June.
Shortly after the jobs figures were released, in response to a question from France 2 TV, French Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault said that "climbing back up the hill will be difficult, but every day we lead the fight".
In the interview, Ayrault warned that the government may have to reduce France's 2013 growth forecast of 1.2 percent, considered too optimistic by economists, "by a little".
Whatever the growth next year, the government budget for 2013 will be "honest" and "proactive", Ayrault said.