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The Eurozone is enduring its worst recession in the history of the single currency. Growth within the 17 member bloc has been negative for the last six quarters – but of course, individual states such as Germany and Austria have fared better. Things have been so bleak that analysts are trying to draw comfort from the fact that the rate at which things are getting worse has slowed.

The most recent source of cheer from the “cup half full” brigade comes in the shape of the latest Markit composite purchasing manager’s index (PMI) for the month of June. The PMI figure has improved from the May reading of 47.7 to stand at 48.9 for June, however, a reading lower than 50 suggests contraction. On the optimistic front, the June figure shows the smallest decline seen for 15 months and might be an indication that the worst is behind us (but then again…).

German economic output increased for the second month in a row, but it also saw its sharpest decline in employment since 2010; a counter-intuitive situation. France also experienced a fall in employment, but for the Eurozone as a whole, the month saw the smallest overall loss of jobs since October 2011. The unemployment situation continues to be patchy across the Eurozone with Austria enjoying the best levels of employment whilst more than 1 in 4 Spaniards are out of work at the other end of the employment spectrum.

Markit expects that the Eurozone will continue to contract in Q2 when figures emerge and is predicting that the Eurozone economy will shrink by 0.2%. They expect that the bloc will return to growth in the final quarter of the year – honestly.

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