French researches say they have determined that men in co-habiting gay relationships are twice as likely to be unemployed as straight men living with a female partner.

Thierry Laurent and Ferhat Mihoubi examined fourteen employment surveys from the INSEE, France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, between 1996 and 2009, Libération reports.

The researchers first isolated the records of men cohabiting as part of a couple, both gay and straight. They then separated the group into male partners and female partners, weighted them and examined the difference in their employment patterns.

They found a rate of unemployment among gays at 3.1 percent, compared with 1.5 percent for straight people.

409 of the 106,751 cohabiting men examined were gay, 0.25 percent of the total, creating a relatively small sample.

The unweighted data showed 8.9 percent of cohabiting gay men were unemployed, compared with 2.4 of straight men, but the researchers said biases for age and skill levels in those rates needed to be countered.

Gay men under forty were 2.4 percentage points more likely than the average straight worker to be unemployed when biases were removed.

The rate could be attributed in part to discrimination in the process of hiring for a job, researchers thought, but younger gay men also had a higher turnover in the job market, leaving positions more frequently.

The researchers, from l’Université d’Evry-Val d’Essonne and the Centre d’Etude des Politiques Economiques, said: “The entry into working life is more difficult for gay workers, than for others. They spend more time than their heterosexual counterparts stabilising in employment.”

The rate of people who had permanently given up looking for work, was 4.2 percent among gay men and 2.3 percent among heterosexual men in cohabiting relationships.

Laurent said this was attributable to the fact that women in cohabiting couples are more likely to give up work than their male partners. Since the gay partner of any man who gives up work is already included in the class, the rate of gay men not looking for work is higher.