With 50 the dividing line between expansion and contraction, the Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone for May rose from a four-month low of 46.7 in April to a 15-month high of 48.3 in May, the research firm said in a final estimate of the month's manufacturing performance.
The new level still shows manufacturing in contraction, but at a slower pace than the previous month.
Among the country-by-country highlights, the manufacturing PMI for Germany , the Netherlands and Austria each rose to a three-month high with levels of 49.4, 48.7 and 48.2, respectively.
The index hit a two-year high in Spain at 48.1 and a four-month high in Italy at 47.3.
In France, which has the eurozone's second largest economy, the PMI for manufacturing hit a 13-month high at 46.4, Markit said.
"It is reassuring to see the rate of decline ease to such a marked extent. The sector still seems some way off stabilizing, however, and therefore remains a drag on the economy," Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson said.
"Despite the final PMI coming in above the flash reading, the surveys still suggest that gross domestic product is likely to have fallen 0.2 percent in the second quarter, extending the region's recession into a seventh successive quarter," he said.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]