Make us your home page
Instagram

Eurozone recession is its longest yet

A man holds a 10-euro note at a market in Paris on Wednesday. France’s economy has fallen back into recession.

Associated Press

A man holds a 10-euro note at a market in Paris on Wednesday. France’s economy has fallen back into recession.

PARIS — The eurozone is now in its longest ever recession — a stubborn slump that has surpassed even the calamity that hit the region in the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

The European Union statistics office said Wednesday that nine of the 17 EU countries that use the euro are in recession, with France a notable addition to the list. Overall, the eurozone's economy contracted for the sixth straight quarter, shrinking by 0.2 percent in the January-March period from the previous three months.

Though the contraction is an improvement on the previous quarter's 0.6 percent decline, it's another unwelcome report for the single-currency bloc as it grapples with a debt crisis that has prompted governments to slash spending and raise taxes.

This recession is not nearly as deep as the one in 2008-2009, which ran for five quarters, but it is now the longest in the 14-year history of the euro. A recession is typically defined as two straight quarters of negative growth.

Austerity measures have inflicted severe economic pain and produced social unrest across the eurozone, where the average unemployment rate is a record 12.1 percent and higher in some places. In Spain, it's 26.7 percent and in Greece 27.2 percent.

Wednesday's report also brought bad news for the wider 27-country EU, which includes noneuro members such as Britain and Poland. The EU, too, is now in recession after shrinking by a quarterly rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter, following a 0.5 percent drop in the previous period.

With a population of more than half a billion people, the EU is the world's largest export market. If it remains stuck in reverse, companies in the United States and Asia will be hit. Last month, U.S.-based Ford Motor Co. lost $462 million in Europe and called the outlook there "uncertain." McDonald's saw its sales in Europe, the hamburger chain's biggest market outside the United States, fall 1.1 percent in the first quarter.

There have been some recent indications that Europe's leaders are willing to ease up on their adherence to cuts and tax increases at a time of recession. Some countries, for example, are being given more time to meet certain economic and financial targets.

Despite the latest relaxation of some deficit-reduction targets — and an easing of concerns over the debt crisis in financial markets — most economists think the eurozone will remain in recession in the second quarter.

Growth is expected to emerge in the second half of the year, but it isn't likely to amount to much. But the eurozone has been in recession since the fourth quarter of 2011. Initially it was just the countries at the forefront of its debt crisis, such as Greece and Portugal that were contracting.

But the malaise is now spreading to the so-called core countries. Figures released Wednesday showed Germany, Europe's largest economy, grew by a less-than-anticipated quarterly rate of 0.1 percent, largely because of a severe winter.

This quarter marks the third time that France has been in recession since 2008, when a banking crisis pushed the global economy into its deepest contraction since World War II.

Guillaume Cairou, CEO of the consultancy Didaxis and president of France's Club of Entrepreneurs, said the news that the country is in recession merely confirms the difficulties its businesses have long experienced.

"The situation of companies on the ground is grave and more serious today than in 2008," Cairou said in a written statement.

Eurozone recession is its longest yet 05/15/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    But it's replacement — Tampa Bay Next — will likely include many of the same projects, including express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  2. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]
  3. Leaders of Tampa Bay's top workplaces share insights, suggestions

    Business

    TAMPA — Nearly 300 people gathered at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday morning to hear tips and insights from leaders of the highest-ranked workplaces in Tampa Bay.

    Bays Florida associates (From left) Robert Patterson, Amanda Boser, and Kellly Banchak talk during the reception before the start of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces Live! program at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times
  5. Department store chain from Puerto Rico coming to University Mall

    Retail

    TAMPA — Grand's, a department store chain from Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in September.

    Grand's, a department store chain from n Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in Tampa in September. Coloring rendering of revamped University Mall.
[CBRE Group]