Reuters reports the bad news across the Atlantic: Even the German and French economies shrunk in the final quarter of 2012, doing worse than economists expected.
The only countries that grew in the period were Estonia and Slovakia. Austria, The Netherlands, Spain and others remain in recession.
This is the first time since 1995 there have been four straight quarters with no overall growth in the 17-country Euro zone. Gross domestic product was down half a percent for the year.
Growth may be resuming now in Germany, though it’s too early to tell. December’s export factory orders at least suggest it. In other countries, there’s little sign of a turnaround.
Portugal had the sharpest drop, down 1.8 percent last quarter. Italy’s been spiraling down for the past year and a half, which is now a longer decline than at the height of the financial crisis.
We may have slow growth in the U.S., but slow growth is better than no growth. Or shrinking with no end in sight.