Credit managers appear more optimistic about the state of the economic recovery, a new survey suggests. The findings reflect a number of recent market trends that have alluded to gradual improvements in consumer activity, job growth and credit decisions. The National Association of Credit Management's Credit Managers' Index climbed a full percentage point in February to reach 55.8 - the highest reading since April 2011. The only decline was in the index for new credit applications, which dropped from 61.9 to 59.5. That figure suggests that borrowers who were seeking credit to expand their operations were largely successful in doing so. "The damage from the recession is still manifesting in the unfavorable categories, but at least the index has remained above 50 for the past four months," said Chris Kuehl, an economist for the NACM. "The theme here is that the CMI is about where it was in the spring of 2011, a period during which optimism was peaking." Last summer's slowdown in economic activity was also felt in the credit market, with decline sin both lending activity and the CMI itself.