Confidence in voluntary benefits sales growth has fallen.

Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc., Avon, Conn., reports that its Worksite Confidence Index stood at 96.2 at mid-year, down from 101 in mid-2007.

Eastbridge bases the index on results from a survey of voluntary marketers’ expectations for sales growth, profitability and employee interest in voluntary benefits.

The benchmark level of 100 was set in 2005.

The percentage of respondents who think that sales will “increase a lot” fell to 24%, down from 34% a year earlier.

The percentage of respondents expecting big sales growth is up from 20% at the end of 2007, Eastbridge says.

Overall, 82% of those surveyed for the mid-2008 index said sales will increase at least a little, according to Bonnie Brazzell, a vice president at Eastbridge.

“At the other extreme, we see 12% saying sales will deccrease,” Brazzell says. “We’ve never seen more than 5% saying they expect a decrease.”

Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge, attributes the decline to a combination of a weak economy and the fact that the number of new brokers entering the voluntary market has leveled off.