BUSINESS confidence is improving in the service sector, the CBI has said.

Its quarterly survey found activity was generally better than three months ago, with many firms predicting further improvements, especially in business and professional services.

Firms are employing more staff and investing more in training, and they expect that to continue.

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The consumer services sector – hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure – is more cautious.

Anna Leach, CBI head of economic analysis, says the survey shows "encouraging signs" and added: "Business and professional services firms are relatively bullish about the coming 12 months and confidence has rebounded sharply.

"Consumer services continue to face more challenging conditions. Although profits and confidence have stabilised, business volumes continued to shrink this quarter and no material improvement is expected."