Fears that the socialist policies of French President François Hollande would make a weak French economy worse appear now to have been well-founded.
France announced Thursday that growth for the third quarter was a mere 0.2%. The French economy shrank 0.1% in the previous quarter, and most economists expect that contraction to resume in the current quarter.
Meanwhile, unemployment has risen to 10.2%, its highest level in 13 years.
Since Hollande won the French presidential elections in May, he has increased the minimum wage, lowered the retirement age for some workers (which his predecessor has just raised in an attempt to reduce government costs), created tens of thousands of education jobs and, of course, announced big tax increases.
But instead of reviving the weak French economy as Hollande promised, all indications are that his policies are making a French recession in 2013 more likely.
"The third quarter is probably the result of a temporary rebound at the European level," Michel Martinez, an economist at Societe Generale in Paris told Bloomberg News. He added that business sentiment indicates France's "economy is heading to a moderate recession or at best remaining flat."