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Business confidence jumps to six-year high in Sonoma County

A regular survey of business leaders shows confidence in the Sonoma County economy at a six-year high.

The Business Confidence Index this winter registered an average of 6.36, the county's Economic Development Board said Monday.

The index, which measures leaders' perceptions on a 1-10 scale, peaked in the last decade at 6.8 in the summer of 2006. It sank to 3.2 in early 2008 soon after the start of the Great Recession.

The latest survey, taken by 106 executives in various sectors, showed 67 percent of agriculture leaders and 61 percent of manufacturers plan to hire more workers in the next six months.

"It's another indicator of recovery," said Ben Stone, the board's executive director.

However, half of the executives in health services expected to see a decrease in hiring.

A majority of those surveyed said they were cautious about making significant capital expenditures. And 64 percent expected the economy will take another two years or longer to "get back on track."


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