“We haven't seen a recession like this occurring in countries all around the world since the Second World War,” Merkel told daily newspaper Bild.
However, Merkel said compared with other nations gripped by the economic crisis, Germany was well placed to manage the unprecedented downturn.
She said Germany's improving labour market and its budgetary consolidation right up until the crisis began to bite in late 2008 gave Berlin plenty of room to manoeuvre.
“We want to come out of this crisis stronger than when we entered it,” she said.
But Merkel warned against expecting the state to be able to bail out everyone.
“Everything we do for the crisis we keep in mind the state finances and the next generation,” she told the paper.