How is the socialist prescription working for France?

Socialists continue to prove they can’t run a bake sale let alone a large economy.

Restrictive labour laws, rampant unions, higher wealth taxes, high minimum wages and all the other wonders that David Cunliffe and Russel Norman get all giddy over…end result 10.5% unemployment over 40% for the under 25s, the state consuming more than 50% of GDP and a colossal debt and deficit issue.

Fran?ois Hollande?s credibility is lying in tatters after figures indicated he had failed to deliver on a central government promise to “turn the tide” on unemployment by year’s end.

Riding lower in the polls than any of his postwar predecessors, the Socialist leader chose to defy predictions by the IMF, the European Commission and the vast majority of private economists to bank on a turnaround in French unemployment by the end of 2013.?

“I will be judged on it,” he told the nation in a Bastille Day television interview over the summer, in what even allies said was a deeply risky bet.

On Thursday night, labour ministry data showed that the bet was all but lost as the number of people registered as out of work in mainland France had grown by 17,800 in November to 3.29 million. This almost wiped out the 19,900 fall in the number of jobless in October ? a figure that ministers had prematurely insisted was the first glimmer of economic recovery.

The number of unemployed now accounts for more than 10.5 per cent of the working population – perilously close to a record high.

The figures cap what has been a disastrous year for Mr Hollande, as his approval ratings have crashed through successive basements with the French deeply dissatisfied with tax hikes, no significant structural reforms, and successive government U-turns on a range of issues.

Socialist Party leaders are now bracing for humiliating losses in municipal elections in March and the European elections in May that could lead to dissolving parliament.

In public, Mr Hollande?s government put a brave face on the latest figures, even suggesting that they were going its way if widened to include part-time and short-term workers among job seekers.

They also pointed out that the final jobless figures for December will only be released late next month ? giving small cause for hope.