HALF of manufacturers have seen orders increase this year and expect the trend to continue in the coming months, new research has shown.
A survey of 700 smaller firms in England also showed that a third were looking to create new jobs.
But only two out of five reported an increase in inquiries from potential customers, and fewer companies were considering investing in new machinery compared with earlier this year.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service said there were positive signs of growth, although firms were being “cautious”.
Business minister Mark Prisk said the study showed that many small manufacturing firms were growing despite the “challenging” economic environment.
Meanwhile, half of students hold down jobs while studying, with many working more than 20 hours a week, a poll suggests.
It reveals that students are still likely to rely on loans to get them through university, but parents and savings are also common sources of income.
The poll of around 2,000 students found that women are more likely to have a paid job while studying than men (52% compared to 42%).
Overall, half say that they have a part-time job either during term time or the holidays or both, or hold down full-time work.
Some 21% of those who have jobs said that they work 21 hours or more a week, the Endsleigh survey found.
Almost three quarters (73%) said that student loans are one of their main sources of income while studying, with 51% citing their parents and 39% saying savings.
For around one in four, a part-time job during term time is one of their main sources of income, the poll, which was conducted with the National Union of Students, found.
Sara Newell, student market manager for Endsleigh Insurance, said: “For many students, having a part-time job at university is no longer a choice but a necessity.
“There is clearly a lot of pressure on students to think about finances.”