Scotland's economy contracted last month amid the slowdown in the eurozone and in markets around the world, according to the Bank of Scotland.
Private sector production was down for the first time in nearly two years, while businesses also took a hit on the input side with rising fuel and commodity prices.
But the Scottish jobs market has shown "remarkable resilience" compared with other parts of the UK with nine out of 11 regions recording a decrease in jobs, according to the bank's latest Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report.
A significant and deepening decrease in the production of goods more than offset the slow growth in the service sector, dragging Scotland's economy down.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "The PMI ended a 20-month run of positive readings showing the private sector of the Scottish economy contracting slightly in September. Growth in services activity did not quite offset a fall in manufacturing output."
He added: "The Scottish economy is struggling to maintain growth momentum in the face of both the eurozone and global slowdowns."
Total output across Scotland's manufacturing and service sectors decreased slightly in September, contrasting with modest growth across the UK as a whole. September saw a third straight monthly decrease in the amount of new business placed with Scottish private sector firms. But the rate of decline eased since August and was only modest overall.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "This Government is totally focused on driving sustainable growth and developing a more resilient and adaptable economy.
"As our draft Budget demonstrated, we are taking action to boost growth and this includes a tax relief package worth over £500 million this year and a further £105m package of economic stimulus.
"With our enterprise agencies, we are doing all we can with the tools we currently have to maintain Scotland's position as the most supportive environment for business in the UK."