Eurozone business activity strongest in six years
Szu Ping Chan
Eurozone businesses enjoyed their strongest quarter of activity since 2011 in the three months to June, in a further sign that economic growth has picked up pace.
A survey by IHS Markit showed private sector activity in the bloc's manufacturing and services sectors remained robust in June as companies continued to hire at a rapid pace to cope with rising backlogs of work.
Manufacturing employment growth was just shy of the two-decade high seen in May, according to IHS Markit, as the dominant services sector extended its best spell of employment growth since early-2008.
"The strong jobs growth was also a reflection of ongoing elevated levels of optimism about future growth," it said.
While the headline IHS Markit eurozone purchasing managers' index (PMI) edged down to 55.7 in June, from 56.8 in May, the reading was still well above the 50 level that divides growth from contraction.
It also means the average PMI reading for the second quarter of 56.4 was the highest since the first quarter of 2011
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said the survey suggested eurozone GDP growth was on course to accelerate from 0.6pc in the first quarter to 0.7pc in the three months to June.
He said: "The upturn is also broad-based, with the surveys signalling an acceleration of GDP growth in both France and Germany in the second quarter, as well as across the rest of the region as a whole, albeit with some loss of momentum seen across the board in June."
It came as official data showed the French economy grew at a faster than expected pace of 0.5pc in the first quarter of 2017, up from a previous estimate of 0.4pc.
It was the second upgrade for the eurozone's second largest economy in as many months.