Demand for goods and services in Europe could be less in 1998 than has generally been anticipated. People are postponing the purchase of appliances and other household goods as job insecurity remains widespread.
What's more, millions of people are below the poverty line. In Britain, 23% of households are in poverty, reports the European Union. In France, where 12.5% of the workforce is unemployed, 16% of households are below the poverty line. In Germany, where unemployment is at a record post-World War II level, 13% of households live in poverty.