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Economy of Europe - statistics & facts

In 2019, the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the European Union was almost 14 trillion euros. As a share of global GDP, this amounted to just over 16 percent, and is expected to fall to 14.63 percent by 2024. Europe's declining share of the global economy is a long-term trend, and due to European economies growing at a slower pace than in other parts of the world such as Asia, and in particular China. With a GDP of over 3.4 trillion euros, Germany has the largest economy in Europe, with France and the United Kingdom have the second and third-largest economies respectively. None of these three countries had very fast growth rates in 2019, however, with many of Europe's fastest growing economies located in Eastern Europe, and the Republic of Ireland having the fastest growth overall at 5.5 percent. Looking ahead into the 2020s, the European economy is expected to face severe challenges in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with the GDP forecast for the European Union a 7.4 percent contraction in 2020, before growth returns in 2021.

Jobs and prices

The hit to European economies inflicted by the COVID-19 will also be reflected in the Labor Market, with unemployment expected to reach nine percent in the European Union in 2020, before falling to 7.9 percent in 2021. The unemployment rate in individual countries will vary significantly however, with four percent expected in Germany in 2021, and 19.9 percent in Greece. Among Europe's largest economies, Germany has consistently had a lowunemployment rate with the highest rate since 2000 being just 2.8 percent in 2008. By comparison, unemployment in Spain reached 23.1 percent in 2013, and was consistently above 20 percent between 2011 and 2015. By contrast, the inflation rate of large European economies has followed a broadly similar pattern, with the widespread adoption of monetarist policies since the 1980s. As of July 2020, the average inflation rate across the European Union was 0.9 percent, with Hungary having the highest rate of 3.9 percent.

Private enterprises in Europe

Like any market economy, private business enterprises are crucial to generating growth and creating jobs. In Europe, the company with the highest global revenue was the Dutch-based petroleum company Royal Dutch Shell, at over 396 billion U.S. dollars, followed by British Petroleum at over 303 billion U.S. dollars. The company with the third highest global revenue was the German carmaker Volkswagen, which was Europe's largest employer at over 644 thousand employees worldwide. While large companies such as these are vital to Europe, there are far more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy. In 2018, there were over 25 million SMEs in the European Union, which added 4.4 trillion euros to the European economy and employed over 97.7 million people.

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