LONDON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Manufacturing activity in the eurozone contracted in January for the fifth consecutive month, research firm Markit Economics said Wednesday.
There was a silver lining in the report. Manufacturing activity declined in the 17-nation currency region, but not as sharply as in December, Markit said.
Markit said the Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone rose from 46.9 in December to 48.8 in January, using data collected Jan. 12-24.
Numbers above 50 indicate business growth and numbers below show a contraction. That means 48.8 is still a contraction, but not as pronounced as the previous month.
Markit said the index showed improved conditions in Germany and Austria, which helped bring the regional index higher.
Offsetting the gains, the PMI came in below 50 for Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Ireland and Greece.
The index in Germany hit 51, a five-month high. In Austria, the index hit a seven-month high at 51.8.
In France, the index tipped lower to 48.5, a two-month low. In Ireland, the index registered 48.3, a four month low.
In Spain, the index hit 45.1, below 50, but a five-month high. In Italy, it came in at 46.8, a four-month high.
In Greece, the index for January came in at 41, a two-month low.