Even as headwinds including NBFC liquidity crunch impacted economy, sentiment among micro and small enterprises (MSEs) improved in December quarter of 2018, a survey showed. An increase in order book size and employee base for manufacturing MSEs and a rise in profit after tax margin and employee base for services MSEs boosted the sector, the 5th CriSidEx survey shows. Festive season, rupee depreciation, and a decline in oil prices also helped the small businesses to perform better than the preceding quarter and also a significant improvement for the corresponding quarter a year ago which was still coming out from the impact of demonetisation. Also read: OYO, Yahoo! Japan join hands; expands company\u2019s global presence The sector is expected to remain upbeat in the next quarter as well, the survey also added. \u201cFor January-March, both manufacturing and services MSEs were optimistic of a good business performance. Over 50% of the respondents each from manufacturing and services expected the positive momentum to continue. In the manufacturing space, pharmaceuticals, gems & jewellery, and chemicals, and in services, professional services, traders, logistics and power & power utilities are the most optimistic\u201d, Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman and Managing Director, SIDBI, said. Employment improved, with MSEs reporting larger additions to their employee base in October- December compared to in July-September. More people expected to add employees in the January-March quarter and only a few respondents intended to reduce headcount. Meanwhile, Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI) showed that rising inflation, low liquidity and jobs scarcity has led to a fall in consumer confidence in February. PCSI saw a downward slide, a drop by 0.9 per cent, in consumer confidence this month, according to a study by Thomson Reuters-Ipsos. \u201cConsumer is downbeat due to rising inflation, lesser liquidity and lack of job opportunities,\u201d said Parijat Chakraborty, Country Service Lines Group Leader, Public Affairs, Corporate Reputation & Customer Experience, Ipsos India.