Eurozone hit by fall in jobs and output

Tim Wallace
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EUROZONE unemployment increased in January and manufacturing output fell again in February, new data revealed yesterday.

Greece led the decline with a record fall in factory output, while Spain now leads the currency area in joblessness, with unemployment at 23.3 per cent.

Overall Eurozone unemployment increased to 10.7 per cent in January, or 16.925m people, according to Eurostat, from 10.6 per cent in December.

The lowest rates are in Austria at four per cent, the Netherlands at five per cent and Luxembourg at 5.1 per cent, while the highest are in Spain, Ireland and Portugal.

Manufacturing output expanded in Germany and stabilised in France but fell sharply in Italy and Spain, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data from Markit showed.

The PMI figure for the Eurozone came in at 49 in February – up from 48.8 in January, but still below the no change mark of 50.

German manufacturing registered a PMI score of 50.2, down from 51 in January, while France climbed from 48.5 to 50, ending six consecutive months of decline.

Meanwhile the index fell to 45 in Spain, down from 45.1 in January and marking the tenth consecutive monthly fall in its PMI.

Italy’s decline slowed in the month, rising from 46.8 to 47.8.

However Greek manufacturing PMI hit a survey low of 37.7 – the fastest decline ever recorded, and the country’s 30th consecutive monthly fall.

“Considering the challenge that the economy is facing, one could expect the index to edge lower in the coming months, as further consolidation measures kick in – not only in Greece but also in other large euro area countries such as Italy and Spain,” said Barclays Capital’s Francois Cabau.