Mar 24, 7:00 AM EDT

Eurozone's economic growth near 6-year high: New survey


Latest Business News
India's Reliance Industries penalized for alleged fraud

Debate renewed over economic benefits of Keystone pipeline

Business Highlights

Trump and Mnuchin say focus will turn to tax reform

Stocks wobble, finish mixed as GOP pulls plug on health bill

Latest News
Eurozone's economic growth near 6-year high: New survey

UK consumers spend more in Feb but underlying trend is down

AkzoNobel rejects second takeover bid by PPG Industries

Standard & Poors raises Cyprus credit rating a notch to BB+

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Debate renewed over economic benefits of Keystone pipeline

Eurozone's economic growth near 6-year high: New survey

Ukraine ex-finance minister to oversee Puerto Rico crisis

German candymaker Haribo to build plant in Wisconsin

UK consumers spend more in Feb but underlying trend is down

Germans see rising pensions as wages increase

UK cost of living keeps rising due to Brexit impact

Top economies yield to US, drop no-protectionism pledge

Auto industry backs commitment to fuel economy amid doubts

US urged to spend more on infrastructure

Interactives
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt

LONDON (AP) -- Businesses across the 19-country eurozone, and particularly in France, are increasingly upbeat and hiring more people despite big uncertainties - including France's high-stakes presidential election.

A closely watched survey of some 5,000 companies indicates that business activity is growing overall at the fastest rate in over six years.

The so-called purchasing managers' index, which serves as a gauge of business activity, rose to 56.7 points in March, from 56 in February, confounding expectations for a modest decline. The index, published Friday by data providers IHS Markit, is on a 100-point scale, with 50 separating contraction from growth.

The findings showed increases in orders for business, exports and hiring - a key point for a region with unemployment still close to 10 percent.

Business activity in France reached the highest since May 2011, even surpassing that of Germany, despite concern that the country's right-wing, anti-euro National Front party is likely to do well in the presidential election.

"While elections remain a worry regarding the outlook, for now the business mood in France and across much of Europe is very positive," said Chris Williamson, economist at IHS Markit. "The eurozone economy's throttle opened further in March."

He said the data indicates that the eurozone economy grew 0.6 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three months.

There is evidence that wages are on the rise, as well as prices. That will be welcome news to the European Central Bank, which has a big stimulus program in place to bring inflation up to healthier levels.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.