France enters recession in Q1, economy hit by joblessness and falling demand

PARIS (AFP) - France entered a recession in the first quarter this year with gross domestic product contracting 0.2 per cent, after shrinking the same amount in the last quarter of 2012, the official INSEE statistics office said Wednesday.

A recession corresponds to a drop in growth over two quarters.

The French finance ministry said that it still expected a tiny expansion of 0.1 percent for 2013 however.

INSEE also revised lower the fall in purchasing power for French households in 2012 to 0.9 percent instead of a 0.4 percent fall forecast in March.

French growth has been sluggish, hit by record unemployment and falling household demand, the key driver of the economy.