Euro zone manufacturing fell in May for the fourth straight month to hit its lowest level since June 2009, according to a survey released Thursday by Markit Economics.

Markit's purchasing managers' index for the 17-member monetary union fell to 45.9 in May from 46.7 in April. Economists had expected a lessor decline, to 46.5. A reading below 50 means activity is contracting month-to-month.