Britain’s manufacturing sector growth has exceeded expectations in the early part of the second quarter, pushing the pound to a near five-year high against the dollar.

The Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers index jumped sharply to a five-month high of 57.3 in April from 55.8 in March. Economists had predicted it would reach 55.4. This is a significant rise as any reading over 50 signal expansion.

The sector accounts for around 10% of the British economy and firms are adding jobs at the rate of 10,000 a month.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said:

“UK manufacturing continued its surging start to 2014, with output growth accelerating in April to a level among the highest signalled over the past two decades. Supporting these efforts are a strong domestic market and improving global economic conditions.”

This brings more good news for contractors working in the manufacturing sector, who are benefiting from a rise in domestic demand and modest recovery of the eurozone, which is currently Britain’s biggest trading partner.

Manufacturers taking part in the survey have increased the rate at which they hire new workers for 12 consecutive months in order to meet the increasingly high demand.

Photo by Bob Jagendorf