Small and medium-sized businesses have seen a continued improvement in the economy towards the end of this year, according to ISME.

The group’s latest Quarterly Business Trends Survey shows an increase in confidence and expectations among the 952 respondents. 

There was growth in current sales figures, with more companies expecting that to continue into the coming months.

Meanwhile, more employers were planning to make investments as uncertainty around the economy decreased.

Of the twelve economic indicators measured in the survey, only future employment fell quarter-on-quarter, however there is still an expectation of job growth within the SME sector.

ISME’s CEO Mark Fielding said that as many as 60,000 jobs could be created by small and medium-sized businesses during 2015.

He said the sector had only begun to benefit from the growing economy in recent times, and described the survey as good news for the year ahead.

"Exporters are the most confident sector, with all indicators in the positive,” he said. 

“Business and profitability expectations and current employment are at their highest in years, reflecting the return on prior year's investment and positive currency movements."

However Mr Fielding warned that the retail sector had bucked the survey’s trend with a more negative response, largely due to weaker Christmas trade than some had predicted.