Euro-Area September Services Output Expands More Than Estimated

Euro-area services output expanded more than initially estimated in September, as the 17-nation currency bloc’s economic recovery gained momentum.

An index based on a survey of purchasing managers in the services industry rose to 52.2, exceeding a Sept. 23 estimate of 52.1 and up from 50.7 in August, London-based Markit Economics said today. The gauge has been above 50, indicating growth, for two months.

Today’s services data come after the euro-zone economy emerged from its longest-ever recession in the second quarter and economic confidence rose for a fifth month in September. The jobless rate fell to 12 percent in July from a record 12.1 percent a month earlier, and held at that level in August.

At the same time, economists in a Bloomberg News survey see growth slowing to 0.2 percent in the third quarter after a 0.3 percent expansion in the three months through June. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict the unemployment rate will peak at 12.3 percent by the end of this year before falling to 12 percent in 2015.

“The region is by no means out of the woods yet,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in today’s report. “Growth remains only modest. The euro-zone PMI is consistent with GDP rising by just 0.2 percent on the third quarter, and the political instability that has reared up in Italy is a reminder that there remains plenty of scope for recoveries to be derailed.”

Euro-area factory output expanded for a third month in September, though the index slipped to 51.1 from 51.4 in August, Markit said on Oct. 1. A composite index of activity in the manufacturing and services industries rose to 52.2, Markit said today.

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