European Commission figures on Thursday showed a slight uptick in economic sentiment in the 27-member union, compared to a flatline in March and a decline in April.
The body’s economic sentiment indicator rose by 0.8 points in the euro currency area, and 1.1 points in the overall European Union, to 89.4 and 90.8 respectively.
Latest sentiment indicators are very close to comparable figures from May 2012.
The European Commission said the slight recovery indicated cautious optimism from European businesses and consumers. The construction industry indicates it will hire fewer people in the near future, and is the only sector with slightly worsening sentiment, according to the group.
Sentiment improved in four sizeable euro economies, including Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Germany. But the economic outlook in Spain changed very little.
In the United Kingdom, however, the construction industry actually spurred growing confidence, according to Dow Jones. Government schemes guaranteeing mortgages and a recovering U.K. housing market may have helped the construction sector along.