The euro zone economy declined by 0.6% in the first quarter of 2021, data showed today to confirm a technical recession, as gross domestic product contracted in all larger countries except France.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said GDP in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in the January to March period, for a 1.8% year-on-year fall.

The figures were in line with the initial flash estimate on April 30.

Together with the GDP decline in the fourth quarter of 2020 of 0.7% - and 4.9% from a year earlier - the euro zone was in its second technical recession since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The economies of Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands all contracted. France's grew by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter.

Eurostat also said today that employment fell 0.3% on the quarter in the first three months of 2021 after a 0.4% quarterly rise in the previous quarter.

This equated to a 2.1% year-on-year decline.