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OECD Says Top Industrialized Countries in Recession

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the world's top industrialized countries are now in a recession that is expected to last through next year. Lisa Bryant has more for VOA from the French capital.

The OECD offered another dose of bitter news to the already grim economic outlook, projecting a tough year ahead for the U.S., euro zone and Japanese economies.

The head of economic policy studies Joergen Elmeskov told reporters the forecast for the OECD's entire 30 members was not any better.

"The upshot is that the OECD as a whole is currently in recession and will likely stay there for some time," said Joergen Elmeskov. "We then project a gradual recovery starting in mid 2009 and with growth eventually getting above trend in the second half of 2010. Only then will the economic slack begin to be absorbed."

The press conference was held on the eve of a meeting in Washington of the top 20 world economies aimed at finding ways to fight the financial and economic meltdown.

The OECD estimates the economies of Japan, the euro zone and the United States will continue to contract next year. The group says U.S. economic growth will fall by 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter this year.

Overall, OECD countries are expected to shrink by 0.3 percent in 2009, after growing 1.4 percent this year. They will not see a rebound until 2010, according to the forecast.

The OECD's projections coincided with news that Germany's economy was formally in recession. A similar announcement is expected from France on Friday.