Manufacturing activity in the euro zone slowed in March to the lowest level since October, according to final results from a widely watched survey.

NTC Research's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector eased to 52 points from 52.3 in February, in line with a provisional estimate. A figure above 50 indicates growth.

The survey revealed diverging trends among the bigger countries with activity at a seven-month high in Germany, modestly higher in France and weaker in Italy and Spain.

Separate figures from the Eurostat agency show that euro zone unemployment held steady at a record low of 7.1% of the workforce.

The seasonally adjusted rate is the lowest on its books going back to 1993. Although the euro zone economy has lost pace over the past year, unemployment has maintained a gradual decline.