Brussels, Belgium (4E) – Business activity in the euro zone continued its rise in September, according to surveys released Monday, an indication that the common currency bloc’s economy continued to rebound in the third quarter.
The Markit Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in September from the 51.5 reading in August, moving up further from the neutral level of 50 points.
The increase confirms that the bloc is rebounding after it finally emerged from 18 months of contraction in the second quarter this year.
Monday’s results, however, offered no sign that businesses in the region have picked up hiring. As the unemployment rate is expected to remain at near record levels for the next several months, the prospects of rapid economic growth and strong consumer spending remains limited.
The survey by data provider Markit indicates strong performance in the services sector, though manufacturing continues to be sluggish. The results confirmed official data that have shown output in factories in the 17-nation euro area remains weak, which is another blow to hopes that the economy will grow rapidly.
Germany’s strong performance lifted the euro zone back to growth, though there are signs that other countries are also starting to get out of recession. German strength helped lead Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party to victory in Sunday’s elections.