Record numbers of small manufacturers in the West Midlands are looking to take on staff as recruitment confidence hits a three-year high, according to a new report.
Nearly two thirds of companies (65 per cent) questioned by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) for its 'Barometer' survey said they were looking to create new jobs.
The figure is a 17 per cent increase on the same period last year and is the highest level of confidence in staff recruitment seen in the history of the report.
These figures are reinforced by growth in sales with 62 per cent reporting an increase in the previous six months and 76 per cent expecting to win more work between now and October.
This represented an 11 per cent and three per cent rise respectively from March 2013, MAS said.
Responses also reveal an appetite for investment in new plant and machinery (71 per cent) and in developing new technologies (64 per cent).
Lorraine Holmes, area director of MAS in the north and west, said: "We have seen consistent signs during the last 12 months that firms are ramping up capacity, in order to meet increasing orders and take advantage of work coming back to the UK.
"This is the clearest signal yet that our manufacturers believe the upturn is sustainable.
"Two record figures for recruitment and investment in technology suggest many small manufacturers in our region are planning for the long-term and, encouragingly, they are taking action now to manage future expansion.
"Our Barometer report highlights that small- and medium-sized manufacturers are contributing strongly to jobs growth and expect to continue to recruit.
"They may find it harder to follow this trend, especially in advanced manufacturing sectors, unless they invest in training and retention."