The hitherto relatively buoyant service sector has started to reflect the economic malaise besetting manufacturing within in the Eurozone - the eight largest European economies (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain) within the twelve-nation euro currency zone.

According to the latest Reuters Eurozone monthly report, the composite indices of activity within the manufacturing and service industry sectors reflect the first contraction of output since last December.

Main points from the survey are:

• The Composite Output Index fell for the third month running in September, dropping from 51.5 in August to 49.1. At a level below the no change mark of 50.0, the index signalled a contraction of output for the first time since last December.

• The Composite New Business Index fell from 51.4 in August to 49.1 in September, registering the first month of falling demand since January. The rate of contraction was only modest, but nevertheless signalled an end to the hesitant recovery of demand that has been evident since the steep decline seen late last year.

• The Composite Employment Index fell from 48.1 in August to 46.6 to indicate the steepest monthly fall in staffing levels since data were first compiled in July 1998. Employment has now fallen for twelve consecutive months.

Data sourced from: NTC Research; additional content by WARC staff