A Confederation of British Industry survey, conducted in association with accountant Pannell Kerr Forster, has found that confidence among small and medium-sized manufacturers has risen for the first time in two years.
The findings could prove beneficial to design consultancies as smaller companies gain confidence for greater forward planning, leading to revised identities and product designs.
Released on Tuesday, the report says the more buoyant mood is due partly to an expected rise in orders over coming months. Nearly a quarter of companies expect orders to increase, while only 18 per cent anticipate a fall. The balance of plus 6 per cent is the first positive result since October 1997.
Employment fell over the past four months, but at the slowest pace for nearly 18 months.