The economy of eurozone countries has officially entered a recession. Figures from EU statistics agency Eurostat showed that the eurozone economy contracted for the second quarter in a row.
For now, it is the lightest recession possible. According to the official definition, an economy is in recession when the size of the economy falls for two quarters in a row. In the eurozone, the economy fell at least 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter and another 0.1 per cent in the first quarter.
Consumers spent less and governments also reduced spending. Among others, the Netherlands (-0.7), Germany (-0.3) and Ireland (-4.6) saw the size of the economy fall in the first quarter. This was offset by growth in Spain (0.5), Italy (0.6) and Portugal (1.6).
Previous Eurostat figures had assumed minuscule growth and a recession did not seem to be on the cards. New figures released this morning show that there was a contraction after all. Eurozone employment did increase last quarter.