Business confidence has improved in Greece, and it is in large part thanks to the country’s manufacturing industry which expanded last month.

Manufacturing accounts for 10 per cent of the economy, and has led to firms employing additional staff, at the fastest rate on record to keep up with demand.

The expansion is being driven by an increase in new orders at home and from abroad for the eighth straight month.

“March saw a further marked round of growth in the Greek manufacturing sector, despite easing slightly from last month’s multi-year record,” said IHS Markit economist Alex Gill.

“Perhaps most encouraging was a record rise in employment. The latest figure adds to what has been a bumper first quarter for jobs growth, which will be hopefully reflected by a reduction in the official unemployment rate.”

While this is a vast improvement since the financial crisis hit in 2009, at 20.8 per cent the unemployment rate remains to be the highest in the euro zone.