By Fatima Hussein at the News-Journal

Michael Sobolewski, president of Conelec Electronic Manufacturing in DeLand, said his company has seen an uptick in orders in recent weeks.

“We’re seeing an increased demand as we look towards the second quarter,” he said.

Sobolewski said his company, which employs 85 workers, is looking to add five to 10 more workers. “We’ve been increasing jobs and actively recruiting more people,” he said.

He’s not alone.

U.S. manufacturing grew this month to the highest level in four years, according to a report released Wednesday by Markit, a London-based global financial information company.

Markit’s U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, based on a survey of more than 600 manufacturers nationally, rose in February to 56.7, up from 53.7 in January, exceeding economists’ forecasts.

An index reading of more than 50 points indicates growth, according to Alex Paidas, a spokesman for Markit.

The stronger-than-expected growth by U.S. manufacturers was fueled by increased orders and increased production, according to the report.

In the Volusia-Flagler area, manufacturers say they, too, are seeing increased orders.

Kate Holcomb, a spokeswoman for Hudson Technologies in Ormond Beach, said orders began picking up last year for her company.

“We’re seeing a continuation of that growth for 2014, with strong demand across multiple product lines — particularly medical,” she said.

Hudson — which makes metal casings and other components for the medical, aerospace and automotive industries — employs 240 workers.

Gene Lussier, president of Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership, attributes the growth in orders for U.S. manufacturers in part to an increased push by many to raise their quality standards to better compete with overseas competitors.

“There’s a big increase in companies getting ISO certifications,” Lussier said, referring to the International Organization for Standardization, which ensures the safety and quality of manufactured products.