Employer Confidence Strengthens in October

businesswestBy BusinessWest Staff

Confidence among Massachusetts employers rose for a second consecutive month during October, bolstered by a surprising improvement in the outlook among manufacturers and the continued strong performance of the state economy.

The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index rose 0.3 points to 56.2 last month, 0.6 points higher than in October 2015. The increase was driven by a 2.6-point jump in the manufacturing index, which has lagged overall confidence readings for the past 18 months as companies struggled with economic weakness in Europe, China, and other key export markets.

The increase came as the Massachusetts unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, its lowest rate since the dot-com boom of 2001.

“Local unemployment rates dropped in 22 of 24 labor market areas throughout Massachusetts during September, which is consistent with gains in the AIM Employment Index over both the month and year,” said Sara Johnson, senior research director, Global Economics, IHS Global Insight, and a member of the AIM Board of Economic Advisors (BEA). “Both sets of numbers indicate that Massachusetts economy continues to perform well. State employment is growing faster than at the national level.”

The AIM Index, based on a survey of Massachusetts employers, has appeared monthly since July 1991. It is calculated on a 100-point scale, with 50 as neutral; a reading above 50 is positive, while below 50 is negative. The Index reached its historic high of 68.5 on two occasions in 1997-98, and its all-time low of 33.3 in February 2009. It has remained above 50 since October 2013.

Almost all of the sub-indices based on selected questions or categories of employer were up in October. The Massachusetts Index, assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth, gained 0.9 points to 57.9, leaving it a healthy 3.8 points ahead of the same time last year. The U.S. Index of national business conditions remained unchanged at 49.2, 1.7 points lower than its level of October 2015. Employers have been more optimistic about the Massachusetts economy than about the national economy for 78 consecutive months.

Read the full article here.

MyNEUFind Faculty & StaffFind A-ZEmergency InformationSearch

360 Huntington Ave., Boston, Massachusetts 02115 • 617.373.2000 • TTY 617.373.3768
© 2013 Northeastern University