Consumer confidence in Northern Ireland is at a record high, research for Danske Bank has said.
The surge in levels of optimism followed a marked improvement in the wider economy, according to the bank.
Its survey of 1,000 people looked at the financial position of households in Northern Ireland.
Danske chief economist Angela McGowan said: “People appear much less apprehensive about their financial future and there is a definite sense that the worst is behind us.”
The bank said consumer confidence is at the highest level since records began in September 2008.
Full-time employees were much more positive about their financial position compared to a year earlier.
Ms McGowan added: “Clearly, participation in the labour market has a huge impact on household financial confidence. For those in full time jobs the financial stresses appear to be significantly less relative to other households.
“The annual improvement in this aspect of the survey also reflects the fact that households tend to respond positively to falling inflation rates. Furthermore, rising house prices also impact upon homeowner’s perceptions of their financial wellbeing.”
While 21% of high-income households said they felt they are better off now relative to last year, only 7% of low-income households felt the same.
Overall, on average one-third of those surveyed felt worse off, while 51% felt no change.