The economy of the euro zone slipped into recession for the first time during the third quarter, the European Union’s statistics agency confirmed Friday, as the financial crisis continued to depress manufacturing activity and consumer demand, the New York Times reported today. Gross domestic product declined 0.2 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months in both the euro zone, which comprises the 15 countries that use the euro as their currency, and the European Union as a whole, according to an initial estimate published by the agency Eurostat. The weakness in the third quarter was particularly marked in Germany and Italy, both of which have technically entered a recession with G.D.P. contractions of 0.5 percent from the previous quarter after a similar decline in the second period. France managed to avoid a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth, as its economy grew 0.1 percent. Spanish G.D.P. also fell, by 0.2 percent, posting the first quarterly decline since 1993. Dutch G.D.P. was flat, after also stagnating in the second quarter and British growth was down by 0.5 percent after a flat reading during the previous quarter. Read more.