Production and manufacturing are up 1.1 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively in May and June - the pace is picking up.
A £1.2 billion contract for new 140mph trains that will reduce journey times on key routes has been announced by the Government.
A total of 270 carriages will be manufactured in Britain as part of the Government's £5.8 billion Intercity Express Programme and the trains will be operational on the East Coast Main Line from 2019.
Capacity will be boosted by 18%, improving train reliability, and journey times between London, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh cut by up to 18 minutes.
The plan is a boost for Hitachi Rail Europe's manufacturing facility in County Durham with 730 jobs set to be created by the order.
The growing import of goods from abroad instead of manufacturing them here has fuelled an increase in carbon emissions, according to the government's climate change advisers.
Official figures show that Britain's carbon emissions have fallen by around 20% over the last two decades, partly as a result of manufacturing moving overseas. But this data does not include the emissions produced in the making and transportation of goods we import to the UK.
The Committee on Climate Change report found that when emissions 'embedded' in the goods we consume are taken into account, there has actually been a 10% rise since 1993.
The report concludes that official figures should continue to track only the emissions produced within UK borders since this is what other countries do, but that imports should also be monitored.
The UK's hopes of avoiding a return to recession remain in the balance after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released mixed figures on manufacturing and exports.
Economists were cheered by a month-on-month improvement of 0.8% in factory output for February, reversing some of the 1.9% slide in January.
But separate figures from the ONS also showed a widening in the UK's trade deficit, largely due to a 1.1% fall in exports amid weaker demand from the beleaguered eurozone.
The UK will duck its third recession since the start of the financial crisis if GDP figures on 25th April avoid a second quarter in a row of contraction.
An unexpected fall in UK manufacturing has raised new fears over the health of the economy.
The Purchasing Managers' Index measures activity in the sector. The latest figures suggest it is contracting much more quickly than anticipated.
ITV News Economics Editor Richard Edgar reports:
Police have been using water cannon to disperse protesting steel workers in the Belgian town of Namur.
The workers are demonstrating against the closure by ArcelorMittal of a coke plant and six production lines in Liege.
Chancellor George Osborne has been touring a plant that makes train wheels in Manchester.
He spoke to workers at the Lucchini UK factory following the announcement that an extension of the planned HS2 line will bring news jobs to the manufacturing sector.
The government is ignoring manufacturing by focusing its efforts on finance, according to Jane Robinson - a business development director in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
She says the laser cutting and engraving business she works for, Cutting Technologies, struggled in last few months of last year, but that diversifying enabled them to stay afloat.
She spoke to ITV News about the importance of "making things" in the UK:
This is how different sectors performed in the final three months of 2012:
- Overall - contraction by 0.3%
- Production - fell by 1.8% (within that manufacturing fell by 1.5%)
- Service - remained flat
- Construction - rose by 0.3%
So no growth at all in 2012 if these figures aren't revised, which they may well be.
New figures reveal growth in the manufacturing sector reached a 15-month high in December.
The latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index showed a headline reading of 51.4 in December, marking a return to growth for the first time since March and the highest reading since September 2011.
Manufacturers were boosted by increased demand from British firms, which helped output from the sector rise at the fastest pace for 20 months, offsetting an ongoing slump in orders from the crisis-hit eurozone.