The euro area private sector expanded in May but the pace of growth remained subdued, survey data from IHS Markit showed Thursday.
The composite output index rose marginally to 51.6 in May from 51.5 in April. The score was forecast to rise to 51.7.
A score above 50 indicates expansion. However, the weak reading puts growth in the second quarter so far on a par with the lacklustre gain seen in the first quarter and was among the lowest recorded since mid-2013.
At current levels the PMI is so far indicating GDP growth of only 0.2 percent in the second quarter, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit said.
After rising to a modest five-month high in April, growth of new business waned again, data showed. Jobs growth slipped to the joint-lowest since 2016 as firms scaled back expansion plans in the light of weak sales.
Optimism about the future meanwhile slumped to a four-and-a-half year low and inflationary pressures moderated as competition limited sellers' pricing power.
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index slid to 47.7 from 47.9 in April. The score was forecast to rise to 48.1.
Likewise, the services PMI came in at 52.5 in May, down from 52.8 in the previous month. Economists had forecast a score of 53.0.