BRUSSELS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A flash estimate of the eurozone's purchasing managers index indicated growth slowed, but only fractionally, in February, Markit Economics said Thursday.
The PMI Composite Index slipped from 52.9 in January to 52.7, Markit said.
Figures above 50 indicate growth, while below 50 indicates contraction.
Markit said the new orders growth hit a 32-month high with a marginal pick up in the services sector and slight pull back in manufacturing for the first time since October.
Output in the 18-nation currency region expanded for the eighth consecutive month, Markit said.
Germany and France are trending in opposite directions, Markit said, with Germany posting the strongest expansion level and the most robust reading for new orders since June 2011 and the index for job creation at the highest level since January 2012.
From France, firms are reporting a contraction that has picked up speed for the fourth consecutive month.
A contraction in new orders accelerated in the month and, as a consequence, so did job cuts, Markit said. Manufacturing output in France, however, rose slightly, marking the second month of expansion in two years, the sector helped by stronger demand for exports.