LONDON - LONDON (AP) — Industrial output in the 16 countries that use the euro fell in October after five months of expansion, official figures showed Monday, stoking fears that the recovery from recession in the eurozone will be muted.
Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said industrial production fell by 0.6 percent in October from the previous month. The decline was in line with market expectations after figures last week showed German industrial output slid 1.8 percent during the month.
The main reason behind the monthly fall was a 1.4 percent drop in the production of consumer goods, which provided further evidence that the recovery in exports is not yet spreading to the household sector.
Jennifer McKeown, European economist at Capital Economics, said the data suggest that the eurozone economy will not expand as quickly in the fourth quarter as the third quarter's 0.4 percent gain, especially as separate Eurostat figures showed employment fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter, equal to the second quarter decline.
"In all, then further evidence that the recovery will be moderate, leaving activity below pre-recession levels for quite some time," said McKeown.
For the 27-country EU as a whole, which includes non-euro members such as Britain and Sweden, industrial production fell by 0.7 percent in October following a modest 0.1 percent increase in the previous month.
Compared with October 2008, industrial output was 11.1 percent lower for the eurozone, slightly better than the 12.8 percent decline recorded in September. For the EU, the annual decline moderated to 10.2 percent from 12.2 percent.