France sinks deeper into recession, with 14% GDP hit in 2Q

PARIS (AP) — France's economy shrank by nearly 14% in the second quarter when the country was in coronavirus lockdown, a third consecutive quarter of negative growth in a worsening recession, the national statistics agency said Friday.

The startling plunge of 13.8% from April-June starkly illustrated the punishing economic cost of the two-month lockdown. The pain was so damaging to jobs and industries that the government is talking down the possibility of another nationwide lockdown as infections tick upward again.

France's economy was already slowing, shrinking by 0.2% in the last quarter of 2019, before the pandemic hit with full force.

French GDP shrank by 5.9% in the first quarter of 2020 as COVID-19 patients started to flood and overwhelm hospitals.

That health crisis, with COVID-19 killing more than 30,000 people in France, prompted the government in March to introduce what was one of Europe's strictest lockdowns, halting much activity in the second-largest economy of the countries that use the euro currency.