Despite a pick-up in business in recent months, pessimism abounds in the UK’s service sector, according to a new survey from the Confederation of British Industry.

The latest quarterly CBI/Grant Thornton study identified an improvement in conditions for business and professional services firms (including ad agencies) over the last three months – but no corresponding pick-up in confidence. Profits fell, but are expected to rise in the new year.

In the consumer services sector (hotels, restaurants, etc.), confidence “slumped significantly”, despite a slight rise in business volume after six quarters of decline.

“These firms were expecting a recovery much earlier in the year and as the turnaround has become more prolonged and uncertain their confidence has been dented,” commented CBI chief economist Ian McCafferty.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff