The confidence that Massachusetts businesses have in the state and national economies took a hit in April, but employers’ optimism about their own companies drove a measure of overall business confidence up slightly in April.
The Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index rose 0.7 percentage points to 64.2 in April, the business-backed association announced Tuesday. The index is still 0.4 points higher than it was a year ago, AIM said, and employer confidence levels remain “comfortably within the optimistic range.”
AIM said the slight increase in overall confidence was driven by a 2.6-point jump in the index that measures employer confidence in their own companies and came despite a 1.3-point dip in the business assessment of the U.S. economy and a 2.8-point drop in how businesses view the Massachusetts economy.
“The Massachusetts economy is operating at virtually full capacity, but growth is slowing due to constraints on labor,” Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors, said. “Employers are certainly concerned about public policy issues, but those concerns for the moment are minimized by the underlying strength of their businesses.”
AIM said that one of its member businesses, which it did not identify, wrote: “While business is good, I am not confident in the general direction and tax policies of the federal government. My impression is that short term gains will come at the expense of future economic, social, and environmental stability.”
AIM’s index has been issued monthly since July 1991. It is presented on a 100-point scale, with 50 being neutral. The all-time high of 68.5 was recorded in both 1997 and 1998, the group said, and its low was 33.3 in February 2009. The index has remained above 50 since October 2013.