Economic growth in the 19-country bloc known as the eurozone is at a nearly six-year high, according to IHS Markit. The Markit Eurozone Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased from 56 in February to 56.7 in March, putting the rating at a 71-month high, dating back to April 2011. The first-quarter average was also the highest since the same quarter in 2011.
The PMI survey is based on information from approximately 5,000 companies. The data includes output and input prices, employment and new orders, all of which saw increases.
Manufacturing input costs and selling prices were at their steepest rates since 2011. Economic growth in Germany was second to only France among the European Union (EU) countries using the euro. Manufacturing jobs in Germany increased at its best rate since summer 2011.
IHS Markit Chief Business Economist Chris Williamson said the monetary union saw its best employment growth in nearly 10 years. The entire area saw its largest monthly employment growth since July 2007. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported the area’s unemployment rate hovered around 10%. Williamson added the business mood in Europe is positive, even with the forthcoming elections. The PMI also signified a first-quarter GDP growth of 0.6%.
Despite positive growth, EU expansion is not likely, according to NACM Economist Chris Kuehl. He said this is due to immigration and financial concerns surrounding new applicants such as Turkey. Six countries, including Greece, Spain and Italy, have talked about withdrawing. The United Kingdom is in the process of leaving the EU after last summer’s referendum. Nearly half of the 28 European Union members have joined in the last 13 years.
– Michael Miller, editorial associate