LONDON (AP) -- A survey of business managers indicates economic growth in the 19-country eurozone has accelerated to a near six-year high.
The purchasing managers' index, a survey that serves as a broad 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.
Chris Williamson, economist at IHS Markit, said "the eurozone economy's throttle opened further in March." He said the data suggests economic growth of 0.6 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three months.