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Provisional estimates show that quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area fell by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012, after a 0.3% increase in the previous quarter. This is the first contraction of GDP in the OECD area since the very sharp decline in the first quarter of 2009 (minus 2.3%).
The OECD unemployment rate decreased to 8.0% in March 2013, compared with 8.1% in the previous month. However, this small decline masks diverging patterns across countries.
Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend, continue to show improvement relative to late 2012 in most major economies.
Consumer prices in the OECD area rose by 1.6% in the year to March 2013, compared with 1.8% in the year to February 2013. This slowdown in the annual rate of inflation mainly reflects slower growth in food and especially in energy prices.
The OECD area employment rate – defined as the share of people of working-age who are employed – was 65.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012, 0.1 percentage point higher than in the previous quarter and 0.2 percentage points higher than one year ago.