French jobless claims fall less than first estimated in August

PARIS (Reuters) - French jobless claims fell by much less than initially thought last month due to a technical glitch that caused some unemployed people to be left off the register, the labour ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said that the number of jobless claims in mainland France fell in August by 22,000-29,000 instead of the 50,000 it originally reported last week.

Though the fall was smaller than previously thought, it remained the first in over two years and was the biggest drop since December 2007, the ministry said in a statement.

The national employment agency, Pole Emploi, said that some jobseekers had failed to renew their registration in August because a technical problem at mobile operator SFR prevented them from receiving reminders by text message or voice mail.

The drop in jobless claims has offered a ray of hope for President Francois Hollande's Socialist government as it struggles to live up to a promise to get unemployment on a downward trend by the end of the year.

Labour Minister Michel Sapin said that even despite the technical incident in August the jobs market was showing clear signs of being on the mend.

"Our analysis of the situation and the outlook for the months ahead are not at all changed and we remain more than ever determined to reverse the unemployment trend by the end of the year," the ministry said in its statement.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Susan Fenton)