France's jobless total neared five-year low in first quarter

PARIS, April 26 (Reuters) - France's jobless total fell in the first three months of the year to its lowest level in nearly five years, quarterly data from the Labour Ministry showed on Friday.

The ministry said the number of people registered as out of work in mainland France fell in the first quarter by 24,200 to 3.391 million.

That marked a decrease of 0.7 percent over one month and a decline of 1.5 percent over one year, while bringing the jobless total to its lowest since the second quarter of 2014.

Those figures herald good news for President Emmanuel Macron, who is betting on an improvement in the labour market to help ease pressure from anti-government protestors who are opposed to his pro-business reforms agenda.

France has not yet published an unemployment rate for the first quarter, but it fell in the final three months of 2018 - the last period for which data is available - to the lowest level in nearly 10 years.

Despite the falling jobless numbers, unemployment remains a big concern for households.

Worries about unemployment rose this month to their highest level since January, according to a monthly consumer confidence survey from the INSEE statistics agency on Friday. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)