Thousands demonstrate against education and health care spending cuts in Madrid, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Tens of thousands of people across Spain are protesting education and health care spending cuts as the country slides into its second recession in three years. With unemployment at 24.4 percent - a Eurozone high - and more than half of Spaniards under 25 years old jobless, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has introduced stinging austerity measures in its first five months in office. Banner reads 'is criminal to cut on health care.'(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
MADRID - Spain's National Statistics Institute confirms that the country's economy shrank 0.4 per cent in the first quarter, placing the country back in recession.
The contraction, announced Monday, follows a 0.3 per cent decline in the final quarter of last year. This is Spain's second recession in three years.
Two consecutive quarters of economic contraction are seen as constituting a technical recession.
The institute's findings confirm figures advanced by the Bank of Spain last week.
It comes days after Spain had its debt rating downgraded by Standard & Poor's.