Small and medium-sized businesses expect trading conditions to improve further in the coming year, according to the latest quarterly business trends survey by ISME.
The survey shows positive movement in almost all of its key indicators, including an 18 point increase in business confidence and a 12 point rise in expectation.
The only area to show a fall was in current exports, however this was balanced by a 63% expectations of growth in the area in the coming year.
According to ISME, employment indicators are at their strongest point since the end of 2007, with 15% of employers expecting to increase staffing in the next 12 months.
The survey, which had over 1,100 respondents, was conducted in the first week of October.
Half of the businesses that replied employ fewer than ten people, while 10% employ between 51 and 250.