The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War II, the International Monetary Fund said in a report released Wednesday. The 1.3 percent drop could leave at least 10 million more people around the world jobless, some private economists said.
"By any measure, this downturn represents by far the deepest global recession since the Great Depression," the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook. "All corners of the globe are being affected."
The new forecast of a decline in global economic activity for 2009 is much weaker than the 0.5% growth the IMF had estimated in January.
Big factors in the gloomier outlook: It's expected to take longer than previously thought to stabilize world financial markets and get credit flowing freely again to consumers and businesses. Doing so will be necessary to lift the US, and the global economy, out of recession.