The question on newly-elected President Francois Hollande's mind is what to do about it.
Hollande's layoff clampdown solution according to Labour Minister Michel Sapin is to "make layoffs so expensive for companies that it's not worth it."
France's new Socialist government is planning to ramp up the cost of laying off workers for companies in the coming months, its labour minister said on Thursday after data showed the jobless rate hit the highest level this century at 10 percent.
"The main idea is to make layoffs so expensive for companies that it's not worth it," Sapin said in an interview with France Info radio.
"It's not a question of sanctions, but workers have to have compensation at the right level," he said.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg is also planning legislation that would force companies to sell plants they want to get rid of at market prices to avoid closures and job losses.