French PM unveils 160,000 new jobs target

French Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged Thursday to create 160,000 new jobs in 2021 as his government prepares to unleash a massive spending plan for the coronavirus-hit economy.

The French government has earmarked 100 billion euros ($120 billion) to counter the devastating impact of the coronavirus at a time when daily virus numbers in France are on the rise again.

The sum, a combination of new spending and tax breaks, is four times the amount France spent over a decade ago to deal with the global financial crisis, and represents a third of its typical annual budget.

“I hope that the recovery plan will create 160,000 jobs in 2021 — that is our aim,” Castex told broadcaster RTL.

“Relaunching the economy and fighting unemployment is the plan’s priority objective,” said Castex, as France looks to ward off the threat of mass layoffs.

The budget boost is separate from a 750 billion euro European Union plan agreed after acrimonious haggling in July.