The latest Industrial Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry shows overall optimism among manufacturers is currently rising faster than at any point since 1973, more than 40 years ago.
In the latest instalment of the quarterly data series, the CBI found 41% of businesses are more optimistic than in the previous quarter, with only 8% feeling less optimistic.
The net balance between these two figures, +33%, is the largest since the 41% recorded in April 1973, some 41 years ago.
Several other measures are at their highest in nearly a decade, including a balance of +21% of businesses seeing an increase in total orders, the highest since +27% in April 1995.
The net balance for new domestic orders is also at a decade-long high, matching April 1995’s figure of +17%.
Katja Hall, chief policy director at the CBI, says: “Confidence is rapidly rising among British manufacturers, with a real sense of business optimism.
“Our industrial base is seizing a bigger role in the UK’s economic recovery, with output, orders and hiring all on the up.”
In the coming quarter, +26% of manufacturers on balance expect total new orders to grow further, with the same proportion expecting new domestic orders to rise.
Uncertainty over demand remains a constraint to growth for 43% of firms, but this is the lowest figure since the 41% recorded in October 2010, indicating that customer demand is returning at a confident and consistent level.