The manufacturing sector across the UK is on course to move out of recession in the near future, according to the latest quarterly survey of regional trends from the Confederation of British Industry.

On the negative side, the report found that output continued to fall in all areas over the past four months, with the exception of Wales, where it stayed flat.

However, it also noted the biggest increase in manufacturers’ confidence for over two years, with all regions except south-west England expected to increase output in the coming four months. Particularly sharp increases in confidence were noted in north-east and north-west England, where the declines have been most acute in the last fifteen months.

“After two years of unrelieved gloom there is a widespread feeling among manufacturers in the regions that they have turned the corner, putting the worst of the recession behind them,” the CBI declared.

But the body’s director general Digby Jones cautioned that layoffs in the sector would continue, with employment rising for skilled and specialist workers only.

The CBI’s upbeat comments follow a recent report from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, which in April recorded the highest reading for its manufacturing index since December 1999.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff