The feel-good factor is back with a vengeance in the West Midlands - with confidence among manufacturers that turnover and profits will increase over the next year at a record high.

The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) Quarterly Economic Survey for the second quarter of 2014 confirms that business confidence has reached a level higher than in pre-recession years.

A total of 84 per cent of manufacturers said they expected turnover to improve over the next 12 months. With only three per cent saying it would worsen, there was an overwhelming belief that trading conditions would improve dramatically.

The figure was up from 80 per cent the previous quarter and 65 per cent year on year.

And 70 per cent of those firms forecast that profitability would improve, compared with 56 per cent a year ago and 63 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

Tim Pile, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: "This is tremendous news and confirms that the region is emerging strongly from the recession. Greater Birmingham is increasingly recognised as one of the best places in the world to do business.

"Foreign direct investment into the region has created almost 6,000 new jobs in the digital and advanced manufacturing sectors.

"We've seen many success stories unfold recently, such as the Deutsche Bank expansion, the Institute of Translational Medicine, Birmingham Library, and a plethora of regeneration projects."

Manufacturers also enjoyed continued improvements in their export figures.

Forty-two per cent said sales had increased over the past three months compared with 32 per cent in the previous quarter.

Orders were also buoyant with 41 per cent reporting an increase against 30 per cent in the previous quarter.

Mr Pile added: "West Midlands export growth is the highest in the UK and stood at £28 billion in 2013. Major players such as JLR are driving rapid export growth to Asia. The extended runway at Birmingham Airport will enable more firms to fly to longer haul destinations directly from the city.

"The chamber, through its strong international department, is able to support firms looking to export."

The home market underperformed, with 43 per cent of firms reporting increased sales, compared to 51 per cent in the first quarter, and 46 per cent experiencing fuller order books (49 per cent in the first quarter).

There was good news on cashflow, with 38 per cent saying it had improved (against 26 per cent in the first quarter).

But only 29 per cent, down from 40 per cent in the first quarter, planned to invest in plant, machinery and equipment.

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