The eurozone economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter than in the previous period due to rising coronavirus cases and the re-imposition of restrictions across the continent taking their toll on the services sector.
Across the 19 countries that use the euro as their currency, gross domestic product grew 0.3% on quarter in the last three months of the year, the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat said Tuesday, confirming the first estimate released on Jan. 31. This figure is in line with the forecast of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
On year, the economy grew 4.6%, Eurostat said, also confirming the first estimate and in line with forecasts.
According to Eurostat’s estimates of annual growth for 2021, GDP increased 5.2% in the eurozone compared with 2020.
Eurostat added that the number of employed citizens increased by 0.5% in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter, after a 1.0% rise in the third quarter.
Economists expect a challenging first quarter for the eurozone due to the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and rising inflation driven by higher energy prices, followed by a strong recovery starting in spring.
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