British consumers and workers are becoming increasingly positive in their attitudes towards issues such as personal finances, the economy and job prospects, recent surveys suggest.
Research firm GfK's Consumer Confidence Index rose by three points in May, with improvements in all five measures used to calculate the score.
The index has now increased by 27 points since April 2013 - the biggest gain since the late 1970s.
People were found to be particularly optimistic about the general economic situation, with retrospective assessments of the last 12 months rising by eight points and confidence about the coming year picking up by four points.
A one-point upturn in attitudes towards personal finances means this index measure is now ten points higher than in May 2013.
There have also been substantial improvements in consumers' attitudes towards saving money and making major purchases over the past year.
Analysing the findings, Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK, said it is psychologically significant that the overall index has left negative territory for the first time in over nine years.
"It is not actually positive, standing as it does at zero, but this is the first time it has reached zero since April 2005," he explained.
A separate report from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research showed that consumer confidence has reached its highest point in almost seven years, while economic optimism among British workers is also growing.
The findings showed significant year-on-year improvements in the number of employees receiving pay rises, bonuses and promotions.
Furthermore, there has been an upturn in people starting new jobs, while fewer people have seen work colleagues laid off in the past 12 months.
Stephen Harmston, head of syndicated research at YouGov, said: "The improvement in the labour market suggests that economic optimism is starting to reach workers as well as consumers; it is clear that this recovery has legs.
"The economy is now safely approaching escape velocity and over the course of the summer consumer confidence will surge past its pre-recession peak."
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