WASHINGTON - With global economic activity now projected to decline 1.3 percent this year, the first such decline in more than six decades, a return to growth is likely to take longer than previously expected, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday in a major report. Global growth is expected to resume in 2010, but only at a 1.9 percent rate, notably sluggish compared to past recoveries, the monetary fund noted. In normal times, growth would be closer to 4 percent. The recovery may actually be slower than usual, leading to a slow decrease in unemployment, said Olivier Blanchard, director of the I.M.F. Research Department, at a news conference at the monetary funds headquarters in Washington. Our forecasts imply that unemployment will crest only at the end of 2010. Blanchard, in introducing the World Economic Outlook report, said that the unemployment rate in the United States would probably peak around 10 percent. It is now 8.5 percent, after months of relentless job losses. The International Labour Organisation has estimated that world unemployment could rise to 7 percent this year, up from about 6 percent in 2008. The current outlook is exceptionally uncertain, said the executive summary of the monetary report, with risks weighed to the downside. Even among the details of a largely cautionary report, IMF officials saw some signs of hope, largely because of the forceful fiscal and other steps taken by the United States, some European governments and also by China. We do see China as showing some considerable resilience, continuing to grow at around 6 1/2 percent this year and accelerating next year, an IMF analyst, Charles Collyns, said. The Chinese government has reacted very strongly and very early to offset the negative forces both through credit policies and strong fiscal stimulus. European growth is expected to lag the United States, the monetary fund said, and the Russian economy might contract by as much as 6 percent before returning to tepid growth in 2010. In the United States, the economic contraction would be even greater at 2.8 percent this year, with zero growth for 2010, the monetary fund projected. Separately, the Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, cautioned against expecting a quick recovery, underscoring the complications of the worlds increasingly interwoven economies and financial systems. Never before in modern times has so much of the world been simultaneously hit by a confluence of economic and financial turmoil such as we are now living through, Geithner said in a speech before the Economic Club of Washington. Blanchard said that the fiscal responses of several major countries had made a gigantic difference. If there had been no fiscal stimulus across the world, world growth in 2009 would be 1.5 to 2 percent less, he said. We would be in the middle of something very close to a depression. While saying that there is light at the end of this long tunnel, he cautioned against seeing, in still mixed economic data, reason for complacency. The need for strong policies on both the macro and especially the financial fronts is as acute as ever, he said. Geithner noted that only 17 of the 182 economies followed by the monetary fund are expected to grow at faster rates this year than last, and 30 of the 34 advanced economies are expected to shrink, amid a collapse in world trade that will likely be the worst since the end of World War II. Geithner spoke as financial ministers and central bankers were gathering in Washington for the spring meetings of the monetary fund and World Bank. On the sidelines of the meetings, officials of the Group of 7 industrialised nations and the Group of 20, which comprises G-7 members and major emerging economies, will meet. Even as globalisation speeds the flow of economic benefits in good times, he said, Now we are learning that in times of contraction, globalisation transmits trouble with enormous speed and force, affecting economies around the world - the relatively strong as well as the more vulnerable.