MANUFACTURERS are at their most optimistic for more than 40 years, a study has said.

The CBI quarterly industrial trends survey says firms have been buoyed by strong orders.

It said growth in total order books and domestic orders was at a 19-year high, with the number of new jobs created at its strongest since October 2011.

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The survey, which looked at 405 companies, said 38 per cent had reported an increase in orders for the three months to April, with 32 per cent revealing a rise in output.

Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, said: “Confidence is rapidly rising among UK 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.

“There are still bumps in the road ahead, with only a tepid recovery likely in the Eurozone, the pound creeping higher and a rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine.

“However, expectations for growth in the coming three months are positive and manufacturers plan to significantly ramp up investment in the year ahead.”