UK services growth accelerated faster than expected in April thanks to broad-based improvement in the economy, with manufacturing growing especially fast during the month.
Markit's 'all sector' purchasing managers index (PMI) rose from 58.2 in March to a five-month high of 59.4.
Analysis by Markit of its April survey indicated that the April reading was consistent with the economy growing at a quarterly rate of 0.8%.
"Such a rate of growth in the second quarter would lift gross domestic product above its pre-recession peak, extending further the strongest spell of economic growth that the country has seen since the financial crisis struck," said Markit's Chief Economist Chris Williamson.
The April surveys signalled a strong start to the second quarter, which Williamson said signalled an acceleration in the rate of economic growth to the fastest since last November and one of the highest rates of growth seen in the history of the survey. "With the outlook brightening, the pace of job creation hit a record high."
Construction saw an easing in the previous near-record rates of expansion to a six-month low, but the survey also showed ongoing strong growth across all construction sectors, not just house-building.
Services activity grew at the sharpest rate seen so far this year, but manufacturing saw the strongest increase, reporting the third-largest monthly rise in production seen since the survey began in 1992.
The data was broadly consistent with services output growing at a quarterly rate of 1.0%, rising to 1.5% in manufacturing and 3.0% in construction.
Williamson said: "However, although seeing the weakest growth of the three sectors, it's the services sector which, due to its sheer size, will again provide the main driving force behind the economy in the second quarter."
The April survey also showed job creation across three sectors, with growth at the fastest rate seen in the 16-year history of the survey, suggesting employment grew at a rate of approximately 100,000 per month.
Commenting, Howard Archer at Capital Economics said: "Overall, the April purchasing managers surveys tie in with our view that UK GDP growth is now well on course to reach 3.0% in 2014."
Archer added: "Furthermore, much improved confidence has led consumers to increase their discretionary purchases on consumer services. Increasing purchasing power should further support demand for consumer services over the coming months. The Bank of England agents reported in their April summary of business conditions that "consumers had become increasingly willing to spend on leisure activities, eating out, home services via broadband and holidays."