Eurozone business downturn drives heavy job losses

Eurozone private sector activity contracted for the 10th time in 11 months in July, sending the rate of job losses to their highest in two-and-a-half years, a key survey showed Tuesday.

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) compiled by business research firm Markit was stuck at 46.4 in July according to a preliminary "flash" reading, indicating another month of contraction in activity.

"The July reading was in line with the average seen in the second quarter, for which the PMI signalled the steepest quarterly downturn for three years," Markit said.

The figures suggest "the euro area downturn showed no signs of letting up at the start of the third quarter and is consistent with GDP falling at a quarterly rate of around 0.6 percent, which is similar to the rate of decline we expect to see for the second quarter," said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson.

"The downturn is being led by an increasingly severe slump in manufacturing, where output is falling at a quarterly rate of around 1.0 percent," he said.

While employment fell only slightly in Gerany, France saw jobs cut at the fastest pace since December 2009.

Across the eurozone, job losses were at the sharpest rate since November 2009.

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