A closely watched survey suggests that economic growth across the 19-country eurozone hit a 4-1/2 year high in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Financial information company Markit said its purchasing managers' index — a broad gauge of economic activity — rose to a four-month high of 54.3 points in December from 54.2 the previous month. That monthly growth rounded off the best quarterly performance since the middle of 2011.

Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson said Wednesday the eurozone economy starts 2016 on a solid footing and is "well placed to enjoy a year of robust expansion."

He said it's particularly encouraging to see firms taking on staff in increased numbers, "suggesting that businesses are preparing for stronger demand in the coming year by boosting capacity."