West Midlands manufacturers are enjoying strong demand and increasing headcount, according to a new survey.

Output and orders remained strong in the final quarter of the year according to EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and business advisers BDO.

Demand across the region continues to be driven by the aerospace and automotive industries which is feeding down through the supply chain and has resulted in strong demand for skilled workers.

The outlook is promising too with manufacturers in the region expecting strong output and order balances to continue into the next three months. Almost a third of companies surveyed are also planning to increase investment.

EEF forecasts this picture will continue into 2014 with the sector growing by 2.7 per cent in 2014 compared to 2.4 per cent for the economy overall.

It has also revised its forecasts for this year, showing manufacturing contracting by just 0.1 per cent and the overall economy growing by 1.4 per cent.

EEF Midlands region director Richard Halstead said: “We have seen a definite turnaround in prospects for manufacturing and this looks set to continue into next year.

“However, uncertainties in the global economy remain and a sustained recovery is not secure.”

Tom Lawton, partner at BDO in the West Midlands, added: “Continued strong demand within the domestic market is very encouraging and this does suggest that a sustainable manufacturing recovery has gained a foothold in the region.

“However, international markets hold the key to a fully-fledged and meaningful improvement and these markets remain frustratingly fragile.”