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Since 1997, France has experienced a consistently bright spell throughout all its economic indicators. Unemployment had especially changed between 1997 and 2001, from over 3.2 million unemployed to 2.2 million today. From 1993 to the beginning of 1999 France experienced an unemployment population oscillating at around 3 million people, then the French experienced what the press described as a "World Cup Effect", a confident sentiment and a good breath of fresh air after the crisis. France remains a pillar of the European Union, notably strong in its position of 4th most powerful economic nation in the world and second European economic strength behind Germany. During this same period economic growth restarted. According to the IMF it recorded a growth in its GDP of 3.4% in 2000 and 2.4% in 2001, even though the growth in the Euro zone was only 2%. Moreover the majority of experts ascertain that if the French economy seems affected by the slowing down of the American economy, then it is relatively protected from the contagion.

Inflation during the 90s remained weak. The consumer price index rose 2.5%.per year.

There are strong development disparities in France, notably between Paris and the rest of the country: "the provinces". Paris is the engine of French economy: it is in the capital where all decisions are made and where all is created. It is surely the only city in France that is largely open to international recruitment and that offers the most career opportunities. In fact, it is in Paris where all the headquarters of the large companies are concentrated, the decision centres, the press and fashion... In terms of recruiting potential, Paris is followed notably by the regions of Lyon and Lille.

Unemployment rate in June 2001: 8.8% which is 2.2 million unemployed people. One million less unemployed since 1997.

Principal economic partners: Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Spain, Belgium, Luxemburg and Japan.

Number of foreign workers: 2.1 million active immigrants in 1999.



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