A string of positive economic indicators for the U.K. economy could give the country's ruling Conservative party a boost ahead of a general election which a leading figure in British business has described as the most important in decades.
The U.K. unemployment rate fell more than expected in the three months to December, official figures showed Wednesday, to hit 5.7 percent. This was below analyst forecasts of 5.8 percent and marked the lowest level since 2008.
It came as employment in the country surged over the period – some 103,000 more people were in work than in the previous three months.
In yet more good news for the economy, a key element of the data release also showed that earnings growth in the country was well above inflation. Earnings including bonuses increased 2.1 percent in the three months to December on a year earlier – compared to annual consumer price inflation of just 0.3 percent in January.
Howard Archer, chief U.K. economist at IHS Global Insight said the figures were a "double dose of good news."
"Earnings growth is now markedly above inflation, which is very good news for households and for consumer spending prospects in 2015," he said in a note.
"It is also potentially good news for the government as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will both be hoping that rising real earnings growth will make people feel happier about life and more inclined to vote for them as May's general election draws ever closer."
Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com agreed, adding: "This (data are) good news for the consumer, and also for Prime Minister David Cameron as we lead up to the May General Election."