During the month of May, manufacturing output in Britain rose for the second consecutive month, signalling an end to the sector's long and severe recession.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Britain's manufacturing output was up by 0.7 per cent in May, following a 1.1 per cent increase in April.
This is the first time since the autumn of 2000 that manufacturing output has risen without immediately falling again the next month. Manufacturers in Britain have been hit hard by last year's global economic downturn.
The strongest performers within manufacturing in the country included the food and drink sector. However output of machinery and equipment failed to grow in the three months to May.
Manufacturing leaders have become a bit more optimistic in recent weeks. ONS figures earlier in the week showed a strong rise in goods exports for the second consecutive month and continued weakness in prices paid by manufacturers for materials and fuel.
Signs of a manufacturing recovery have removed one of the big obstacles to a rise in interest rates, which many economists say is needed to rein in the house prices, which soared by nearly 20 per cent over the past year.