Eurozone Economic Confidence Rises, Jobless Rate Falls

Euro area economic confidence improved in May as the economy recovered from a recession and the unemployment rate dropped slightly in April, separate data showed on Thursday.

The economic confidence index rose less-than-expected to 96.0 in May from 95.6 in the previous month, survey results from the European Commission revealed. The reading was forecast to improve more sharply to 96.2.

The increase in the economic sentiment index reflected improved confidence in industry, services and among consumers, which was curbed slightly by the declining confidence in construction.

The industrial sentiment indicator posted -9.9 in May, up from -10.4 in April. However, the score was weaker than the expected value of -9.4.

Similarly, the services confidence index improved to 6.5, in line with forecast, from 6.1 a month ago.

At -14.3, the consumer confidence index rose from -14.7 and matched the preliminary estimate. The latest reading was the highest since February 2022.

Confidence among retailers remained unchanged in May, with the index holding at -6.8. By contrast, the construction sentiment index fell slightly to -6.0 from -5.9.

The employment expectations indicator continued to edge down in May, falling to 101.3 but remained above its long-term average.

Capital Economics economist Lily Millard said the survey is consistent with weak growth in the euro area. Although price pressures are still strong, it is continuing to ease, the economist noted.

Official data released by the Eurostat showed that the unemployment rate dropped marginally to 6.4 percent in April, while the rate was expected to remain unchanged at 6.5 percent.

Unemployment decreased by 100,000 from March. At the same time, the number of people out of work fell 101,000 from the same period last year.

The youth unemployment rate eased to 14.1 percent from 14.3 percent a month ago.

Capital Economics’ Millard said the jobless rate is expected to hover around its current level for the remainder of the year.

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