AIM: Massachusetts business confidence ‘stumbles again’ in September

By Chris Reidy | The Boston Globe | October 2, 2012

A business confidence index maintained by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts lost 3.9 points in September to post a reading of 51.3, the association said Tuesday.

“We have just been bumping along the road since the initial rebound from the depths of recession faded in mid-2010,” Raymond G. Torto, the chair of the associations’ Board of Economic Advisors, said in a statement. “This year, looking past month-to-month fluctuations, the quarterly averages run 54.2, 54.1, 52.6 – no progress at all, in fact a slow erosion.”

The association is a group representing Massachusetts employeers. It started the monthly confidence index in mid 1991. The index uses a 100-point scale. A reading above 50 represents a positive outlook among the Bay State’s employer community, a reading below 50 a pessimistic mood. Its historical high of 68.5 was attained twice in the late 1990s. Its all-time low of 33.3 was recorded in February 2009.

Another member of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors is Alan Clayton-Matthews, a professor at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.

Clayton-Matthews noted a US index of business conditions gained a point in September to 45.0, and the Massachusetts index of conditions within the Commonwealth fell 3.3 to 50.1.

“These are telling results,” Clayton-Matthews said in a statement. “Massachusetts has out-performed the nation economically through much of this business cycle, but the current slowdown is affecting our industries disproportionately, bringing us back to the pack. Over the past year the Massachusetts Index has gained 3.6 points, while the U.S. Index is up 10.0.”

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