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A worker works on a construction site in the HafenCity development in Hamburg, Germany, in this file photo. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)
A worker works on a construction site in the HafenCity development in Hamburg, Germany, in this file photo. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Euro zone industry output rises, employment hits record high Add to ...

Euro zone industrial output grew in April and employment rose in the first quarter of the year to reach a record high, data released on Wednesday showed, in fresh signs of healthy growth of the bloc’s economy.

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

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

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

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

In a separate release, Eurostat said employment in the euro zone in the first quarter grew by 0.4 per cent on the quarter and by 1.5 per cent on the year.

In absolute terms, 154.8 million people were employed in the euro zone 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 employment its figures for the last quarter of 2016, when the rate of employed people rose 0.4 per cent on the quarter and 1.4 per cent on the year. It had previously estimated increases of 0.3 per cent on the quarter and 1.1 per cent on the year.

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

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

Output went also up by 0.6 per cent 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 per cent on the month, and for intermediate goods by 0.1 per cent.

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

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