Manufacturers across the West Midlands say output and orders are at a 16-year high – as the recovery gathers momentum.

The quarterly Manufacturing Outlook survey published today by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and business advisers and accountancy firm BDO LLP in the Midlands reveals a new mood of optimism among industrialists.

The survey says: “Local manufacturers have the highest level of confidence since readings began in 1998, as they head into the next quarter, with a balance of 55 per cent of companies expecting to increase output and a balance of 61 per cent anticipating a surge in orders.

“This positive outlook is supported by a strong demand for skilled workers, particularly in the aerospace and automotive industries, as hiring intentions rise to a balance of 35 per cent for the next three months.

"Continued business optimism across the region has led to a record high number of manufacturers (a balance of 47 per cent) planning to boost investment in the next quarter. “

Richard Halstead, EEF Midlands Region Director, said: “Looking ahead to the next quarter, this is the most positive set of indicators we have seen for some time. Here in the West Midlands it looks like we’ve not just turned a corner, we’re actively heading down the right road.

“Manufacturers are clearly feeling more confident as their order books fill up and exports are strong.

"It is now vital that Government does all that it can to underpin support for companies, giving manufacturers the confidence to fulfil their investment and recruitment plans.”

Tom Lawton, partner at BDO LLP in the West Midlands, said: “As local manufacturers forecasts hit a record high for anticipated outputs and orders we expect to see the region continue to strengthen as the UK recovery takes hold.”