State news: Mass. industry index reports declining business confidence

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Amid uncertainty over global conditions and slowing domestic job growth, employer confidence fell in Massachusetts last month as companies took an increasingly bearish view of the U.S. economy, according to survey results released Monday, July 4.

The Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ monthly business confidence index dipped 1.6 points to 56.1 in June, the business group said, putting confidence levels about two-tenths of a percentage point lower than their mark from one year ago.

Massachusetts State House

Wikimedia Commons/Hsin Ju HSU

Massachusetts State House

The AIM index has been issued monthly since July 1991. It is presented on a 100-point scale, with a score of 50 being neutral. The all-time high of 68.5 was recorded in both 1997 and 1998, the group said. The low was 33.3 in February 2009.

Katherine Kiel, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Economics at the College of the Holy Cross, said June’s results were complicated by Great Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union.

“We did have a drop over the last month and part of the issue, I think, was that the surveys were coming back in right around the Brexit vote,” she said. “Some people answered the survey when they were quite confident it wasn’t going to happen and some came in after the vote to leave. So it complicates interpretation of the data this go around.”

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