EU GDP and employment flash estimates for the fourth quarter of 2020

GDP growth in the euro area and EU

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).

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.

These data provide a picture of labour input consistent with the output and income measure of national accounts.

Geographical information

Euro area (EA19): Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

European Union (EU27): Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

Methods and definitions

European quarterly national accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010). They include key policy indicators of GDP and employment.

Gross domestic product (GDP) at market prices measures the production activity of resident production units. Growth rates are based on chain-linked volumes.

Employment covers employees and self-employed working in resident production units (domestic concept). While employment flash estimates are limited to total employment in persons, regular estimates also cover hours worked and industry breakdowns.

The estimate of the annual growth rates for 2020 is derived by dividing the average of the four quarters of 2020 by the average of the four quarters of 2019. Seasonally and calendar-adjusted series are used for GDP and unadjusted series are used for employment. The first regular estimates for annual growth in 2020 will be published on March 9, 2021.

The EA and EU estimates for the last quarter were revised as presented in the following table:

www.ec.europa.eu/eurostat/