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With a GDP of $1.6 trillion, France is the fourth-largest Western industrialized economy. It has substantial agricultural resources, a large industrial base, and a highly skilled work force. A dynamic services sector accounts for an increasingly large share of economic activity (71% in 2002) and is responsible for nearly all job creation in recent years. GDP growth was 0.2% in 2003, after two years of steady decline from 4.2% in 2000.
Government economic policy aims to promote investment and domestic growth in a stable fiscal and monetary environment. Creating jobs and reducing the high unemployment rate through recovery-supportive policy has been a top priority. The Government of France successfully reduced an unemployment rate of 12% to 8.7%, in the late 1990s, but has seen unemployment increase to 9.5% in 2003 . France joined 10 other European Union countries in adopting the euro as its currency in January 1999. Since then, monetary policy has beeen set by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. On January 1, 2002, France, along with the other countries of the Euro zone, dropped its national currency in favor of Euro bills and coins.
France has been very successful in developing dynamic telecommunications, aerospace, and weapons sectors. With virtually no domestic oil production, France has relied heavily on the development of nuclear power, which now accounts for about 80% of the country's electricity production. Nuclear waste is stored on site at reprocessing facilities.