Accountancy, legal and marketing firms have led strong growth in the services sector in the past few months, a new study shows.
Research by the CBI found that growth is set to accelerate further in the three months to May.
Hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure firms have also enjoyed a positive start to the year, although growth is expected to ease in the coming months.
Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said: “It’s great to see the services sector start the year off on a firm footing.
“Despite feeling the pinch from high inflation, business volumes have bloomed, profits have grown for the first time in over two years and hiring is on the up.
“But there are still some telling signs that the underlying challenges for business, professional and consumer services firms have not gone away.
“Investment plans are muted amid uncertainty, and plans for expansion among business and professional services firms have turned downwards.”