The report showed that output was also at its highest for five months, with the seasonally adjusted PMI rising from January's mark of 51.4 to 51.7.
Job creation at service providers was the sharpest since July 2007 and underpinned the overall rise, while staffing numbers in the manufacturing sector also remained solid.
Commenting on the data, Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said the PMI has now been positive for 14 months in a row, signalling that the private sector is continuing its slow recovery from recession.
"These results confirm the diminishing risk of a 'double dip' and increase expectations for a stronger recovery throughout 2012," he added.
It comes after first-ever Regional Report on Jobs by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation revealed that permanent staff placements increased in 75 per cent of the monitored English regions during February.
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Posted by John Oak and Wayne Bly
Source: The Sales Director News