Recession intensifies: Euro-Zone Economy Shrinks for 3 consecutive quarters

FRANKFURT—The euro-zone economy contracted in the third quarter, offering little hope for the worsening global environment as rising unemployment and fiscal austerity across much of Europe undermine the region's fortunes.

The euro zone hasn't grown for four straight quarters and the latest decline in gross domestic product was the second straight. Economists often define recession as two straight quarterly GDP contractions.

Europe's debt crisis, which has pushed unemployment higher and forced governments to enact tax increases and spending cuts, is largely to blame for the malaise.

Germany and France, the euro-zone's two largest economies, posted modest growth in the quarter.