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Europe has plunged into a 'recession on steroids'

Bloc's first-quarter GDP falls by 3.8pc as economists warn of worse to come with slow easing of lockdown measures

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The eurozone has suffered its first drop in employment in seven years as its economy collapsed under the weight of the shock from the coronavirus lockdown.

The bloc's gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 3.8pc in the first quarter of this year - a record decline. It was dragged sharply lower by the likes of France, where a tough lockdown caused the region's second-largest economy to shrink 5.8pc in the first quarter of 2020 versus the final quarter of last year.

Germany's economy contracted by a relatively benign 2.2pc, according to data released this morning.