Local business confidence fell in February
An index that seeks to measure confidence among Massachusetts employers fell to historic lows in February, "shedding 3.4 points to 33.3 – three points below December’s previous record," said the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, or AIM, which calculates the index.
AIM, a nonprofit group that represents the state's employers, issued a press release on its "Business Confidence Index," which included a statement from Raymond G. Torto, chair of AIM's Board of Economic Advisors.
“For the first time in its almost 18 years, the overall index and its sub-indices are all below 40, and all but one are lower than we have seen before” Torto said. “The glimmer of hope here is a faint indication that the economic decline will bottom out within six months, which may draw further strength from the enactment of the stimulus bill and other interventions since our survey was completed.”
The February 2009 reading was down 16.9 points from that of February 2008, and the past three months have produced the three worst readings since the index was initiated in July 1991, AIM noted.
AIM's index is based on a 100-point scale on which 50 is neutral.
AIM's press release also included a statement from André Mayer Sr., AIM's vice president of communications and research and the person who directs the index.
“As the downturn spread through all sectors of the economy, the Commonwealth began to feel its full effect,” Mayer said. “At this point, all indications are that we are suffering approximately the same impact as the nation as a whole.”
February confidence levels were somewhat higher in Greater Boston (34.6) than elsewhere in the state (31.6), AIM added.
To read AIM's press release, please click here.
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)