Euro bloc jobs at a record high

Eurozone industrial output grew in April and employment rose in the first quarter of the year to reach a record high, new data shows, in fresh signs of healthy growth of the bloc’s economy.

The EU’s statistics office Eurostat said industrial production in the 19-country single currency bloc rose by 0.5% from March, in line with market expectations.

Year-on-year output in April output went up 1.4%, slightly higher than market forecasts of a 1.3% rise.

The solid increase of industrial output was compounded by upwardly revised figures for March when production rose 0.2% on the month, and 2.2% on the year.

Eurostat had previously estimated a 0.1% drop on the month in March and a 1.9% rise on the year.

In a separate release, Eurostat said employment in the eurozone in the first quarter grew by 0.4% on the quarter and by 1.5% on the year.

In absolute terms, 154.8m people were employed in the eurozone in the first quarter, the highest number ever recorded and surpassing the previous peak in the first quarter of 2008, Eurostat said.

Eurostat also revised up its employment figures for the last quarter of 2016, when the rate of employed people rose 0.4% on the quarter and 1.4% on the year.

It had previously estimated increases of 0.3% on the quarter and 1.1% on the year.

The positive figures bode well for the bloc’s growth in the second quarter, after overall 0.6% expansion in the first three months of the year.

The April increase in industrial output was mostly due to a 4.7% rise on the month in energy production.

Output also went up by 0.6% for durable consumer goods, such as fridges or cars, in a sign that consumers were ready to spend on more expensive items.

Production also increased for non-durable consumer goods, such as food and clothing, by 0.2% on the month, and for intermediate goods by 0.1%.

The only indicator that in April recorded a drop was for capital goods for which output went down by 0.7% on the month, after a 0.9% rise in March.

Figures published last month showed Ireland’s unemployment rate reaching a nine-year low of 6.4%, with 84,000 more people joining the workforce in the first quarter of the year.

Reuters (additional reporting Irish Examiner staff)


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