As Europe struggles to contain the eurozone debt crisis and austerity measures spread across the region, manufacturing and services output are both down in October, contracting at the fastest rate in over two years and leading the region closer to recession once more.
London-based Markit Economics reported Monday that a euro-area composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both sectors dropped to 47.2. In September it was 49.1. According to a CNBC report, economists surveyed for their expectations had predicted 48.5.
German manufacturing also fell, for the first time in two years, thanks to a combination of lower orders, backlogs, and drops in output. German investor confidence dropped to the lowest in almost three years this month. The outlook in the U.K. was no brighter, with a “steep deterioration in outlook for household finances,” which hit a six-month low, and a decline in job security and incomes even as debt levels rose for the seventh month in a row.