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[PARIS] France's economy created jobs at the fastest pace since early 2007 in the final three months of last year with a 0.4 per cent quarterly increase in non-farm payrolls, the INSEE statistics agency said on Friday.
INSEE said in a first estimate for the fourth quarter that non-farm private sector payrolls had risen by 62,200, the most since a 130,300 increase in the first quarter of 2007.
For the whole of last year, the economy added 191,700 net new jobs in the non-farm private sector, reaching the highest level since the end of 2008 with 16,158,900.
The data add to growing evidence of a gradual turnaround in France's long-struggling labour market, which has come too late to give a political boost to France's unpopular President Francois Hollande.
Mr Hollande decided at the end of last year not to stand for a second term in the April presidential election.
INSEE's figures showed that the improvement was exclusively driven by the services sector, where payrolls rose 0.6 per cent on the quarter while they fell 0.2 per cent in industry and 0.1 per cent in construction.