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In the fourth quarter of 2020, seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. These declines follow a strong rebound in the third

quarter of 2020 (+12.4% in the euro area and +11.5% in the EU) and the sharpest decreases since the time series started in 1995 observed in the second quarter of 2020 (-11.7% in the euro area and -11.4% in the EU). According to a first estimation of annual growth for 2020, based on seasonally and calendar adjusted quarterly data, GDP fell by 6.8% in the euro area and 6.4% in the EU.

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 5.0% in the euro area and by 4.8% in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2020, after -4.3% and -4.2% respectively in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2020, GDP in the United States increased by 1.0% compared with the previous quarter (after +7.5% in the third quarter of 2020). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP decreased by 2.5% (after -2.8% in the previous quarter).

Employment growth in the euro area and EU.    The number of employed persons increased by 0.3% in both the euro area and in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with the previous quarter. In the third quarter of 2020, employment had increased by 1.0% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU.

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment decreased by 2.0% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2020, after -2.3% and -2.1% in the third quarter of 2020.

According to an estimation of annual growth for 2020, based on quarterly data, employment decreased by 1.8% in the euro area and by 1.6% in the EU.