World News

Eurozone economy picks up in Q1, growth doubles to 0.4%

BRUSSELS  — The slowdown in the eurozone economy appears to have come to an end.

Official figures released Tuesday show that the 19-country single currency bloc saw economic growth double in the first quarter of the year and that has helped unemployment fall to its lowest level since the global financial crisis.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said the eurozone economy expanded by 0.4% in the first quarter from the previous three-month period. That’s double the rate experienced in the last quarter of 2018 and suggests that a period of rapid slowdown may be over.

Eurostat did not provide any details behind the pick-up in growth. However, some eurozone countries have released national figures. Spain did particularly well in the first quarter of 2019.

Despite the quarterly increase, the eurozone is far short of the sort of growth it was posting before the slowdown began in the middle of last year. On an annual basis, growth remains tepid at 1.2%.

The eurozone, like many other parts of the global economy, faltered last year as trade tensions between the United States and China became more acute and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the EU weighed on sentiment.

One clear sign that the eurozone is faring better than during the difficult debt-crisis years of the first half of this decade has been the fall in unemployment. The jobless rate fell to 7.7% in March, its lowest level since Sept. 2008, the month when the global economy was reeling from the shock of the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, arguably the most dramatic moment during the financial crisis.



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