During Q1 2021, the European Union’s GDP was down 0.4 per cent compared with the same statistic for Q4 2020, suggesting the EU’s post-COVID economic recovery is lagging behind that of the USA.
According to data released on Tuesday by the EU’s statistics arm Eurostat, across the bloc seasonally adjusted GDP was down by 1.7 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2020, whereas in the US, in the same interval, it is recorded to have increased by 0.4 per cent.
This reflects the projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in April forecast that whilst the euro area’s GDP would rebound to pre-COVID levels only in 2022, the US economic output would actually exceed pre-COVID levels as soon as 2021.
However, figures from countries within the euro area are far from uniform, with some, namely France, Lithuania and Slovakia recording year-on-year economic growth in Q1 2021.
These figures come against the backdrop of significantly diverging speeds in respective country’s vaccine rollout programmes, seen as essential for the commencing of an economic recovery, with many EU countries’ programmes (though not Malta’s) lagging behind.
According to most recently available data, 82.05 vaccine doses have been given for every 100 people in the US, far exceeding the figures recorded in the EU’s economic powerhouses Germany (47.8), France (43.14) and Italy (46.17).
The Eurostat data also indicates that during Q1 2021, in both the EU and the euro area, employment decreased by 0.3 per cent on the same figure the quarter before, when employment had increased by 0.4 per cent.
Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment decreased by 2.1 per cent in the euro area and by 1.8 per cent in the EU.
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