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Private sector activity in Scotland declines

Staff writer |
Private sector activity in Scotland declined for the first time in six months during September, albeit at a slow pace. The contraction was broad-based, as both the service and manufacturing sectors registered decreases in output.

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Volumes of new business fell at a marginal pace in September, while backlogs of work also declined. Despite this, workforce numbers expanded at an accelerated rate.

At 49.0, down from 50.8 in August, the seasonally adjusted headline Bank of Scotland PMI - a single-figure measure of the month-on-month change in combined manufacturing and services output - pointed to a decrease in private sector business activity in Scotland in September.

That followed a five-month sequence of increasing output at Scottish private sector companies. Manufacturing firms in Scotland reported a fall in new orders, from both the domestic and foreign markets, in September. The rate at which new business contracted was sharp and led to a deterioration in production in the sector. Anecdotal evidence suggested declining output was the result of lower demand.

Data collected from Scottish service sector companies also highlighted a contraction in activity during the month. This was despite a rise in incoming new business, which increased at the least marked rate in seven months.