Scotland's private sector economy starts to decline
Scotland's private sector has started to decline, according to research from the Bank of Scotland.
Its PMI survey for February indicated output levels deteriorated for the first time in three months, driven by a marginal decline in new orders.
The PMI registered a score of 49.2, representing a slight downturn in output.
The bank suggested the performance of the oil and gas sector was behind the decline.
Other key points from the research included:
- Employee numbers in the private sector were down slightly
- New work in the private sector declined, after 11 months of growth
- Manufacturers saw a "substantial decline"
- The price of goods fell, while input prices rose
The research is compiled by Markit for the Bank of Scotland.
It is based on a monthly survey of about 600 executives in private manufacturing and service sector companies.
Mr Gardner said: "The downturns in the Aberdeen region and the oil and gas sector negatively impacted the Scottish economy during February, as firms struggled to cope with lower incoming new order levels and deteriorating volumes of incomplete work.
"The drop in business activity and the slide in workforce numbers also signals a challenging few months ahead for the region."