Milan

Eurozone back in recession, but Italy's decline slows

'Country on way to ending crisis' says Monti

Eurozone back in recession, but Italy's decline slows

Milan, November 15 - Premier Mario Monti said Thursday that Italy is on the way to ending its economic crisis and that his government is now focusing increasingly on helping young people, while new data shows the decline in Italy's GDP to be ongoing but slowing, and the eurozone as a whole is slipping back into recession. "The government's activity in this time of serious difficulty, which has not yet been overcome but is being overcome, is directed towards young people," Monti said at the inauguration of the academic year at Milan's Bocconi University, where he used to teach. Youth unemployment levels in Italy are alarmingly high, with over a third of 15-to-24-year-olds jobless. That and other dismal economic factors have bogged the country down in recession. But the decline in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) slowed in the third quarter of this year, national statistics agency Istat said on Thursday. GDP dropped 0.2% between July and September compared to the second quarter and 2.4% on the same period in 2011. This is an improvement on the quarter-on-quarter drops of 0.8% and 0.7% registered respectively in the first three months and second three months of 2012. Italy's GDP dropped for the fifth consecutive quarter in the July-September period. Amid the euro crisis, the country is one of many feeling the bite of low GDP. According to European Union statistics bureau Eurostat, the eurozone economy as a whole is officially back in recession after the area posted negative growth for the second consecutive quarter in the July-September period of this year. The EU statistics office said the eurozone's GDP dropped 0.1% in the third quarter, according to flash estimates, having fallen 0.2% in the previous three months. The area's GDP was flat at zero growth in the first quarter. It means that the 17-member eurozone has entered its second recession since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Eurostat said GDP increased by 0.1% in the 27-state EU as a whole in the third quarter of 2012. Compared with the same quarter of 2011, seasonally adjusted GDP fell by 0.6% in the eurozone and by 0.4% in the EU in the third quarter of this year, after respective drops of 0.4% and 0.3% in the previous quarter. The statistics office pointed out that GDP increased 0.5% in the third quarter in the United States compared with the previous quarter (after a 0.3% rise in the second quarter) and fell by 0.9% in Japan (after a 0.1% increase).

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