The eurozone's longest recession ever: By the numbers

Keith Wagstaff
The Week
People wait to enter a Madrid unemployment office on March 4: Spain's unemployment rate is a staggering 27 percent.

The currency bloc's pan-national nightmare is far from over

The eurozone is officially in its worst recession since the euro was first introduced in 1999, as the currency bloc continues to struggle to break free of a debt crisis that has hampered growth and led to political tensions across the continent.

"The misery continues," Carsten Brzeski, a senior economist at ING in Brussels, told Reuters. "Almost all core countries [but] Germany are in recession and so far nothing has helped in stopping this downward spiral."

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Here is a quick look at some of the numbers behind the eurozone's economic malaise:

Percentage the eurozone's GDP contracted during the first three months of 2012. That means economic output in the eurozone has shrunk by a total of 1 percent over the last year. And the six consecutive quarters of contraction officially make this the longest recession in the history of the euro.

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"While eurozone officials say that the regional economy should recover in the second half of 2013, today’s data offer no signs of an imminent recovery," writes Simon Foxman at Quartz.

Countries in the 17-nation eurozone with larger economies now than in 2008: Germany, Austria, and Belgium. Germany is especially important because it generates almost a third of the eurozone's economy. Despite doing better than most of its neighbors, Germany's economy grew an anemic 0.1 percent, which is lower than what experts had predicted.

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Percentage drop of French people who have a favorable opinion of the European Union, from 2012 to 2013. France was one of the biggest losers in the latest report, officially falling into recession with two successive quarters of contraction: 0.1 percent this quarter, and 0.2 percent in the previous one.

The year Italy began keeping fiscal records. Since then, the country has never experienced a recession this long. The country's GDP shrank by 0.5 percent, making this the seventh consecutive quarter that its economy has contracted. Debt levels now equal 130 percent of the country's GDP.

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The unemployment rate in Spain, which experienced a 0.5 percent drop in GDP. According to Eurostat figures released in March, Spain currently has 6 million citizens who are out of work, including 57 percent of non-students under 25 years old.

78 billion
The size of the bailout, in euros, Portugal received in 2011. The country saw a drop in economic output of 0.3 percent, which is considerably better than the 1.8 percent contraction it saw in the previous quarter.

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The annualized first quarter percentage growth of China's economy. (Just sayin'.) The United States saw growth of 2.5 percent.

The value the euro dropped to after news of the eurozone's latest woes broke. It's the lowest level the euro has traded at against the dollar since April 4.

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Sources: The Associated Press, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian (2)(3), The New York Times, Pew Research Center, Reuters (2), The Washington Post

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