Sébastien Durier, Lucie Gonzalez, Isabelle Macario-Rat et Hélène Thélot, département de l'Emploi et des revenus d'activité, Insee
The rate of unemployment, as defined by the International Labour Office, is now determined using a definition which brings it closer into line with European statistics. According to this new approach, it rose to 8.1% of the active population of Metropolitan France in the second quarter of 2007. Since early 2006, the unemployment rate has fallen regularly, after a slight increase in 2005. On average, in 2006, 2005 and 2004 it reached 8.8% of the active population of Metropolitan France, or 2.4 million people. The average annual level of economic activity is also stable, at 55.9% of people aged 15 and over. This overall stability conceals a fall in the rate of male economic activity, mainly caused by population ageing, offset by the continuing underlying rise in female economic activity. On average, in 2006 1.3 million people were underemployed, indicating that they had employment, most often a part-time job, but would have liked to work more.