October 30, 2012

Eurozone Economic Sentiment Lowest in 3 Years

German unemployment worse than expected, Spain continues to contract

While the U.S. continued to face the fury of Hurricane Sandy, stormy economics clouded the atmosphere on the other side of the Atlantic, where confidence fell for the eighth straight month in October, hitting its lowest level in more than three years.

In Germany, unemployment was up twice as much as economists had predicted, and Spain’s economy continued to contract for a fifth quarter as people there also had to deal with increased inflation.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the European Commission released numbers indicating a fall in executive and consumer sentiment to 84.5 from 85.2 in September. It hasn’t been that low since August of 2009.

More than twice as many people as expected lost their jobs in Germany, with figures from the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg showing an increase of a seasonally adjusted 20,000 from September to 2.94 million in the jobless rolls. A Bloomberg survey of economists showed they had expected 10,000 jobs to be lost.

Spain continued to lose ground as well, with GDP down in Q3 0.3%–the fifth straight quarter of recession. Madrid-based INE said consumer prices were up 3.5% from the same time last year.

Austerity measures in Europe are dragging down economies almost everywhere, driving down consumer and executive confidence; Europe’s economy has likely shrunk in Q3, which would put the region into recession territory for the first time since 2009.

“Every indicator we’re looking at is headed south for Europe,” Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, N.Y., said in a recent Bloomberg Radio interview. “Europe is headed for an event much more akin to the Great Depression than to any other business cycle we’ve seen in our lives.”

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