Europe economy slides back into recession as US rolls ahead

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Figures show Europe’s economy contracted in the first three months of the year. Slower vaccine rollouts and ongoing lockdowns are keeping restaurants and shops closed and keeping cash out of the register across services, restaurants and travel. Official figures say economic output fell 0.6% in the 19 countries that use the euro currency.  Right now Europe is lagging the U.S., where growth has rebounded more strongly. But economists say the next three months could show an upswing in Europe as the pace of vaccinations picks up and more countries can let business and travel resume.