OPTIMISM among Spanish business owners is at its highest level since April 2010.

Panellists surveyed for the monthly Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) expect a slow but steady improvement in economic conditions over the coming year.

The PMI for September also showed a marginal increase in employment, as the post and telecommunications sector reported a boost in staffing levels.

The news comes despite a marginal decline in services activity in September, and a further decrease in output prices due to tougher competition from abroad.

Andrew Harker, an author of the report, said: “The Spanish service sector failed to show much sign of recovery during September, but companies are at their most optimistic about the future for nearly three and a half years, suggesting service providers are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.”