By William Horobin

PARIS--The number of unemployed people in France fell for the second month in a row in October, giving President Francois Hollande a firmer platform for a possible re-election bid.

Statistics from the labor ministry Thursday showed the number of people registered as fully unemployed--so-called Category A job seekers--fell 0.3% on the month in October to 3,478,800. That marks a 2.8% decline from October 2015.

The monthly count of job seekers is closely watched in France as Mr. Hollande has said he won't seek re-election in May if he fails to get unemployment on a downward path by the end of the year.

The French leader says he will announce his decision next month and there are no more unemployment databefore Dec. 26.

"These results confirm the favorable trend that has emerged over the past few months," said Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri.

However, despite the signs of improvement in the job market, Mr. Hollande remains a deeply unpopular president. Most polls show that if he ran for re-election he would fail in the first round and the race to become France's next president would be between National Front leader Marine Le Pen and a candidate from the center-right.

Separate unemployment statistics have also cast doubt on whether Mr. Hollande would be able to claim he has fixed France's labor market. Statistics agency Insee said earlier in November that the unemployment rate in France rose to 10% in the third quarter of the year from 9.9% in the second quarter.

--Noemie Bisserbe contributed to this article.

Write to Noemie Bisserbe at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 24, 2016 12:15 ET (17:15 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.