The Markit Eurozone PMI® Composite Output Index was unchanged on March’s reading of 46.5 in April, according to the flash estimate. Activity fell sharply again in both manufacturing and services. While the former saw the steepest rate of decline for four months, the latter saw the downturn ease slightly compared with March.
New business fell for the twenty-first successive month, with the rate of deterioration accelerating for the third month in a row to signal the steepest decline since December. Marked falls were seen in both manufacturing and services.
Divergent trends were evident in the region’s two largest member states. While France saw the rates of decline in both business activity and new
business ease sharply to the slowest for four and eight months respectively, Germany saw both activity and new business fall at the steepest rates for six months. The drop in German activity was also notable in being the first since last November.
Elsewhere across the region output fell at the slowest rate for three months in April, though the rate of loss of new business remained marked. Backlogs of work fell for the twenty-second consecutive month, being depleted at the same rate as March (though still falling less steeply than seen late last year). The ongoing deterioration in the order book pipeline prompted firms to cut payroll numbers for the sixteenth month running. The rate of job losses accelerated slightly on March, reflecting stronger rates of job shedding in both manufacturing and services.
Employment rose slightly for the second month in a row in Germany, though the rate of job creation slowed due to a drop in manufacturing headcounts. The rate of job cutting accelerated in France, running ahead of that seen elsewhere in the Eurozone – where a marginal easing was seen in the average rate of job losses.