A record number of small manufacturing firms are aiming to create new jobs amid increasing confidence, a new study has found.
Research among over 800 companies in England found that 54% were looking to take on staff, a 14% rise on a year ago.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) said firms were taking advantage of new opportunities and work being brought back to the UK from overseas in the automotive, aerospace and nuclear sectors.
Steven Barr of MAS said: "We have seen consistent signs during the last 12 months that firms are ramping up capacity, in order to meet increasing orders and take advantage of work coming back to the UK.
"This is the clearest signal yet that our manufacturers believe the upturn is sustainable."
Nearly three quarters of smaller manufacturers reported an increase in their energy costs over the last year.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "Britain's manufacturers are helping drive the UK economic recovery. Through our industrial strategy and economic plan, the Government will continue to work closely with this vital sector to ensure that confidence stays high, creating more highly-skilled jobs and a stronger economy for everyone."