Business

Eurozone manufacturing picking up, PMI figures show

German factory worker
Image caption Germany is helping to drive the economic recovery in Europe

The eurozone's manufacturing sector ended 2010 enjoying strong growth, a survey has indicated.

The Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) recorded a level of 57.1 for December, up from an earlier estimate of 56.8 and above November's 55.3.

A reading above 50 indicates growth, and eurozone PMI has now stayed above this level for 15 months in a row.

The strongest growth was recorded in Germany, but Greece's manufacturing sector continued to shrink.

"Manufacturing output growth gathered pace again in December, putting the sector on a strong footing to start the New Year," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

"Germany remained the star performer, seeing near record growth," he added.

"However, welcome signs of recoveries were also evident in the periphery, where export sales helped boost output growth in all cases except Greece."

In Germany, the PMI index rose to 60.7 in December, and the employment index rose to a record level of 57.1.

The survey results echo other recent surveys that have shown the German economy growing strongly on the back of rising exports.

Markit said the PMI manufacturing figures showed that France and Austria had enjoyed "robust" expansion in December, while Italy saw a "marked improvement" in its rate of increase.

However, in Greece - where the economy has been hit by austerity measures and falling consumer confidence - the PMI manufacturing measure fell to 43.1 from 43.9 in November.