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Massachusetts Economy Gets High Marks from Residents: The Mass Insight Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before the "Great Recession"

BOSTON, Oct. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mass Insight Consumer Confidence Index for Massachusetts rose significantly in the Fourth Quarter, with the overall score rising from 81 to 91 after a decline in results reported in July. The score represents the highest Consumer Confidence score since April 2007, 8 months prior to the December 2007 date the National Bureau of Economic Research reports as the beginning of the recent recession. The jump is fueled primarily by an increase in confidence for the future of the economy. The Massachusetts Index tracks the National Conference Board Index.

"We may be ending the lost decade of consumer confidence if the economy continues to improve," said William H. Guenther, CEO and Founder of Mass Insight referring to the decade between this quarter and October 2001 when both Consumer Confidence Index scores were 91. "Massachusetts residents are not only rebounding from the recent recession, they are feeling more positive about the future both for the state and for the nation."

Concerns about the current job market are again shifting more positively. After several quarters of unchanged opinions, 40% now say that available jobs in their area are "hard to get" – down 5 percentage points, the lowest percentage since July 2008. Also, the number of consumers who believe there are "plenty of jobs" increased from 10% to 13%, the highest percentage since January 2008. Remaining unchanged this quarter, 24% report that someone in the household over the past year has been involuntarily unemployed for more than 30 days. When asked about future jobs, the percentage of consumers who believe there will be "more jobs" in six months increased from 25% to 32%, a figure that had not increased in a year.

Sixty percent say things in Massachusetts are on the right track, also the highest rating since before the recession in January 2007. In addition, over half of the Massachusetts residents polled (55%) think that the worst is over for the national economy.

The Massachusetts Consumer Confidence Index, published quarterly by Mass Insight, is modeled on the national Conference Board Index, which is scaled to a 1985 base of 100 and varies above and below 100. If the Index is less than 100, respondents are more negative than positive. In past years, the Conference Board Index has ranged from 145 in January 2000 to 47 in February 1992. The survey on which the Massachusetts Index is based is conducted for Mass Insight by Opinion Dynamics Corporation. This survey consists of telephone interviews with 500 adult residents of Massachusetts. The late third quarter 2012 survey results were gathered from September 25-30, 2012.

Mass Insight Global Partnerships, founded in 1989, is a Boston-based consulting and research firm that builds regional and global alliances between higher education, industry and government. Mass Insight organizes collaborative initiatives to shape public-private actions and develop innovative partnerships. For more information, visit www.massinsight.com.

SOURCE Mass Insight