France's national statistics agency estimates that unemployment has risen to 10.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, up from 10.5 percent at the end of 2012

French President Francois Hollande has promised to reverse the rise in unemployment by the end of this year, but that is looking increasingly unlikely. Some economists say it won't peak until at least next year.

Joblessness has been rising for nearly two years, and France's economy is now officially in recession again.

The Insee agency, which released the update on Thursday, is the in process of slightly changing its questionnaire and method of data collection, so it cautioned that the figure was preliminary, and it could not give the usual breakdown of unemployment by sex and age.