(EUROZONE) - New figures show the eurozone is back in recession after the economy shrunk in the third quarter of this year. Eurostat's first reading of gross domestic product for the three months ended in September showed a contraction of 0.1% in the eurozone, after a decline of 0.2% in the second quarter -- confirming the 17-nation currency area is back in recession for the first time since 2009.
Spain is now in the second year of recession. Its economy has been shrinking for 15 months. The economy which saw the biggest fall in the last quarter was the Netherlands - it shrank by 1.1%. Both northern and southern Europe are hurting.
Leading economies Germany and France managed to eke out modest growth, but the pace of German economic expansion slowed to 0.2% in the third quarter, from 0.3% in the second. France delivered a positive surprise, posting growth of 0.2% compared with expectations for a flat performance, but the Italian economy continues to shrink.
The Bank of England warned Wednesday that the U.K. economy may contract in the fourth quarter due to the effects of the eurozone crisis. Finland's economy has shrunk 1 per cent over the past year. Unemployment has climbed to a euro-era high of 11.6 per cent for the whole currency bloc, reaching 25.8 per cent in Spain and 25 per cent in Greece.
Poor economic performance in the eurozone has spurred massive industrial protests. Experts believe that these countries will face many years of hardship. The European Commission forecasts growth for next year to be 0.1% at best.