16 May 2013

France back in recession

5:53 am on 16 May 2013

France is in recession for the second time in four years after the economy shrank by 0.2% in the first quarter of the year.

The economy, the the second largest in the Eurozone, shrank by the same amount in the last quarter of 2012.

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Separate figures showed that the recession across the eurozone is in its sixth quarter. The economy of the bloc shrank by 0.2% in the January to March period, according to the EU's statistics office Eurostat. Nine EZ members are in recession.

France has record unemployment and low business and consumer confidence. The unemployment rate is running at 10.6%, which is forecast to rise further next year.

The BBC reports France this week passed a range of measures aimed at stopping the rise in unemployment by reforming the country's labour laws.

These include measures to make it easier for workers to change jobs and for companies to fire employees.