HENLEY-ON-THAMES, UK: The eight largest European economies within the twelve nation euro currency area (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Spain) sustained February's growth surge into March, according to the latest monthly Report on Eurozone produced for the Royal Bank of Scotland by NTC Research.

Employment growth across the zone rose to a nine-month high in March, signalling an increase in business activity for the forty-fourth consecutive month - although the overall index recorded a level of 57.4, marginally down on February's record 57.7.

Key trends from the latest report are . . .

  • New Business
    New order inflows continued to increase at a strong rate in March, rising for the forty-fourth successive month. The rate of growth picked up slightly on that seen in February, and remained well above the long-run historical average of the survey.

  • Backlogs of work
    These rose for the nineteenth consecutive month, reflecting the continued growth of incoming new business. The rate of increase remained substantially above the long-run average of the survey but well down on the peak seen last year.

  • Employment
    Joblessness fell for the nineteenth consecutive month. The rate of job creation climbed to a nine-month high, recording the second-strongest monthly gain in staffing levels seen over the past six years (beaten only by the soccer World Cup driven high of last June).

  • Input price inflation
    This remained strong, holding steady at a rate well above the survey average but down on last year's energy price related peak. Rising commodity prices and upward wage pressures continued to be widely reported.

  • Average prices
    The average prices charged for goods and services were unchanged in March, and maintained a pace substantially above the survey's long run average.
The report features original survey data collected from a representative panel of over 5000 companies across the euro area manufacturing and service sectors. For further information click here.

Data sourced from NTC Research (UK); additional content by WARC staff