Eighteen months of weakness and decline in British manufacturing has ended, according to a survey by the CBI today.
But the country's leading business organisation is calling the upturn "fragile and not uniform".
According to the CBI/Experian regional trends survey, most parts of the country saw a rise in output over the past three months.
It signalled "a welcome if tentative improvement after the gloom that has beset the sector for the past two years".
Recovery was strongest in the North West of England and Scotland where output growth was strong while several other regions saw moderate expansion.
But the results from the West Midlands were not so encouraging.
Business confidence was found to have deteriorated since the previous survey with only one other region seeing a sharper decline.
Exports rose for the second time in a row and the rise in new orders enjoyed by West Midland companies was the strongest for a decade compared with a static situation for the country as a whole.
"But this upturn is expected to be short-lived, with new orders declining in the coming quarter against a modest gain at UK level," the report said.
The fact that new orders at the UK level were unchanged over the past three months highlighted the fragility of the recent recovery in output, which was also less than had been expected.
This was partly due to the sharp decline in new orders in the South West, which stands in contrast to the improvement seen in many regions, notably Wales, Scotland and the North West.
Firms expect modest growth in domestic orders over the coming three months, and are the most positive about the next quarter's export orders in over two years.
Reflecting better times in Scotland and the North West, both report a significant fall in the proportion of firms operating below capacity.
Rising costs, largely due to increased energy prices, continued to keep margins under pressure, however.
The sustained rise in unit costs anticipated by the majority of regions over the next three months is expected to keep profit margins under pressure.
UK manufacturing continued to shed jobs in the past three months, but the pace of the losses was less steep than in the previous quarter, reflecting the modest upturn in output.
According to Experian estimates based on the survey, a further 23,000 manufacturing job losses are expected nationally in the current quarter with a total of 6,000 coming from the West and East Midlands.
Experian economist Dimitri Gunawardena said: "There is welcome evidence in the survey results that the UK manufacturing sector is at last benefiting from a buoyant global backdrop.
"But domestic orders remain stubbornly flat and this, together with import penetration, is constraining the strength and sustainability of the recovery."
Doug Godden, CBI head of economic analysis, said: "Strong export demand driven by a healthy global economy has helped lift manufacturing output over the past three months, but some regions have fared better than others.
"Disappointing orders are a cause for concern, especially in the South West, although firms nationally remain upbeat about demand next quarter."
The survey is based on the responses of 617 companies between June 22 and July 12.