Manufacturers across the West Midlands are continuing to power on by reporting positives in outputs and orders, according to new research.

The latest quarterly Manufacturing Outlook survey by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, and accountancy firm BDO, reveals that business confidence in UK manufacturing has firmly taken root in the region.

The report suggests this quarter's findings showed that manufacturers' strong start to the year was sustained in the second quarter.

In the West Midlands, manufacturing output and orders remained positive in quarter two with balances of +39 per cent and +14 per cent respectively.

Although this didn't translate into hiring intentions during the last three months, looking forward the outlook is more promising with a balance of 23 per cent of manufacturers in the West Midlands looking to increase recruitment, the report said.

In addition, a balance of 23 per cent plan to ramp up their investment intentions during the second half of the year.

The one area of caution is in exports where weak demand in key markets and the appreciation of sterling is adding to uncertainty, the data says, which is resulting in only a small number of West Midlands manufacturers being confident of achieving export growth in the third quarter of the year.

Richard Halstead, Midlands region director at EEF, says: "There is a palpable sense of mounting confidence amongst manufacturers.

"The continuing trend for strong positives is a further boost for businesses emerging from the shadow of the recession and a further boost to the local economy and the job market. Manufacturers in this region will also have an important role to play in helping to sustain broad based growth across the UK."

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at BDO, added: "Government manufacturing policy is creating an environment in which West Midlands manufacturers are comfortable enough to commit to future investment, both in terms of employment and capital.

"This is a positive indicator for the rest of the year."

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