June 14, 2017 / 9:14 AM / 3 years ago

Euro zone industry output rises, employment hits record high

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - 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.

FILE PHOTO: A worker controls a tapping of a blast furnace at Europe's largest steel factory of Germany's industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG in the western German city of Duisburg December 6, 2012. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo

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

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

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

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

In a separate release, Eurostat said employment in the euro zone in the first quarter grew by 0.4 percent on the quarter and by 1.5 percent 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 percent on the quarter and 1.4 percent on the year. It had previously estimated increases of 0.3 percent on the quarter and 1.1 percent on the year.

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

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

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

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

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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