UK manufacturers are the most confident about their growth prospects since before the recession, according to the EEF manufacturers’ organisation.

A survey of 275 firms found that 34% of manufacturers expect their output to grow in the coming quarter – the highest rate since the third quarter of 2007.

Manufacturers now expect 3.6% growth in 2014, which is up from last quarter’s estimate of 2.7%.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said:

“There is a definite sense of confidence among manufacturers, reflected in a range of recent data releases and the continuing strong positive balances in our latest quarterly survey. This should help sustain broad-based growth across the UK.”

The EEF’s latest quarterly survey showed that there is strong trading in all regions and sectors and that manufacturers are also confident about both investment and hiring.

However, it also showed that growth is mainly being driven by domestic demand, with export orders falling short of expectations.

Ms Hopley commented that this is most likely due to the uncertain economic outlook is some parts of the world and that short term improvement is not guaranteed.

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at accounting firm, BDO, said:

“What is now needed is a focus on how this success in the UK can be replicated abroad, and we would encourage the Government to introduce more measures to support exports, especially given the tentative nature of economic recovery in Europe.”

Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy