THE UK's manufacturing industry has stabilised after experiencing increased levels of production and new orders.

Figures show the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index last month rose to 49.8, from 48.6 in March, which was another increase on February's four-month low.

The results fall just short of the accepted mark of 50, which separates growth from contraction.

A Markit/CIPS report said manufacturers benefited from modest improvement in new exports orders, with increased sales to firms in North America, the Middle-East and Australia, and export work rising for the first time in more than a year.

It said manufacturing job losses were marginal and weaker than during the last two months, with firms maintaining a cautious approach to buying.

The upturn in figures comes after March results fuelled worries over a triple-dip recession, when the sector contracted during the first three months of the year to 48.6, with new export orders falling for the 15th consecutive month.