Britain's manufacturers increased their output strongly in the 12 months to July, official data revealed yesterday, driven by a boom in plastics and transport equipment.
Factory output climbed 2.2 per cent on the year, continuing a run of solid growth seen every month since last September.
But the industries are still well below their pre-crash peaks.
Manufacturing output remains 7.6 per cent below the record levels of output recorded in early 2008.
And the wider production industries – including manufacturing as well as sectors like mining and waste disposal – remain 11.3 per cent below the highs of 2008.
By contrast, Britain’s services sector smashed through the 2008 levels last year, and the economy as a whole is around 2.7 per cent bigger than it was before the financial crash struck and forced the UK into a prolonged recession.
Analysts warned the signs of growth in manufacturing were not yet fully entrenched into a solid recovery.
“Although we are still seeing growth and sentiment amongst manufacturers remains positive, there is still a fragility about the recovery,” said Barclays’ Mike Rigby.
“Economic conditions remain broadly supportive, if a little benign, but uncertainty around interest rate rises is holding many manufacturers back from raising investment levels which could start to impact unfavourably on continuing growth for the sector.”
Some industries in the data have proved particularly choppy – oil and gas output is down 1.1 per cent in the year, crashing from a huge 8.9 per cent jump in the year to March.