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French jobless total nears 1-year high in July

PARIS, Aug 24 (Reuters) - France's jobless total rose last month to the highest level in nearly a year as the labour market struggles to take advantage of the improving economy, Labour Ministry data showed on Thursday.

The ministry said the number of people registered as out of work in mainland France rose in July by 34,900 to 3,518,100, the highest level since August of last year.

The increase, one percent over one month and 0.1 percent over one year, was the biggest for one month since the jobless tally rose by nearly 44,000 in March.

Although business and consumer confidence is running at multi-year highs, the improvement has yet to translate into a sustained drop in the jobless total.

President Emmanuel Macron, who took office in May, is counting on bringing the numbers down by easing labour regulations in a reform to be presented next week.

Even though jobless numbers have remained stubbornly high despite a stronger economy, new job creation has been picking up, helping to bring down the unemployment rate.

It fell in the second quarter to a five-year low of 9.5 percent from 9.6 percent in the previous three months, the INSEE statistics agency said earlier this month. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)