Out of the Woods?

by Andrew Stuttaford

Some reality checks from Europe. Elstat reports that Greece’s unemployment rate was 27 percent in November, up from 20.8 percent twelve months before.  Youth unemployment (15–24 years old reached 61.7 percent, up from 50.1 percent). 61.7 percent.

And it’s not just Greece.

The Daily Telegraph reports:

Euro area GDP fell 0.6pc in the last three months of 2012, marking the currency bloc’s first full year in which no quarter produced growth, extending back to 1995, according to figures from European statistical agency Eurostat.

The worse-than-expected decline – the deepest since the first quarter of 2009 – was driven by GDP slumps in the bloc’s major economies, including a shock 0.6pc contraction in Germany and a 0.3pc fall in French output in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile in Italy, the next largest eurozone economy, fourth quarter GDP shrunk a more-than-expected 0.9pc….Italy’s GDP decline marks its sixth consecutive quarterly GDP fall, matching the length of a recession in 1992-93, and longer than the 2008-09 slump.  Its national statistics office ISTAT reported that GDP fell 2.7pc year-on-year, compared to forecasts for a 2.4pc decrease.

As I am not the first to point out, rescuing the euro (at least in its current shape) is akin to saving the tumor, not the patient.

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