HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index, or PMI, for China’s manufacturing sector released Monday provided further proof of an ongoing slowdown.

After adjusting for seasonal factors such as the Chinese New Year, the PMI for February came in at 48.5, up slightly from the earlier flash reading of 48.3, and down from January’s 49.5 reading, according to a statement.

“The final reading of the HSBC China Manufacturing PMI confirmed the weakness of manufacturing growth. Signs become clear that the risks to GDP growth are tilting to the downside,” Hongbin Qu, HSBC’s chief economist for China, said in the statement.

The data also showed that output and new orders declined for the first time since July 2013 while payroll numbers were slashed at the fastest rate since March 2009.

“This calls for policy fine-tuning measures to stabilise market expectations and steady the pace of growth in the coming quarters,” Qu said in the statement.