0111 GMT July 05, 2022
After a slow start to vaccination programs across the region the pace is picking up, allowing some restrictions imposed to quell the spread of the coronavirus to be lifted, Reuters reported.
A deal agreed by the European Union on Thursday to open up tourism across the 27-nation bloc this summer should provide a boost to tourism-dependent economies that were hammered by restrictions last year.
With more businesses reopening - or at least adapting to lockdowns - IHS Markit's flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), seen as a good guide to economic health, climbed to 56.9 from April's final reading of 53.8.
That was its highest level since February 2018 and comfortably above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction, as well as the more modest increase to 55.1 predicted in a Reuters poll.
The bloc's economy will expand 1.4 percent this quarter, according to a Reuters poll last week that also found forecasts for the rest of the year had been downgraded from last month.
"May's increase in the Eurozone Composite PMI reflects the further lifting of virus restrictions in many parts of the region and suggests that the economic recovery is now underway," said Jessica Hinds at Capital Economics.
In Germany, Europe's largest economy, services activity rose by the most in nearly a year, helped by a loosening of restrictions. But supply bottlenecks in manufacturing led to production problems at a growing number of factories.
The lifting of a lockdown in France unleashed a business boom there, with activity surging past expectations to set the stage for an economic rebound.
In Britain, outside the European Union and its common currency area, the flash composite PMI hit a record high. Many services firms reopened their doors and factories rode a wave of demand from a recovering global economy, prompting a jump in both hiring and prices.
Data on Friday also showed British retail sales surged in April, with shoppers splashing out on new clothes as they were allowed out to socialize after shops reopened following months of lockdown closures.