State House News Service

Shutdown Soured Mass. Employer Confidence, Index Finds

BOSTON — Business confidence among Massachusetts employers tumbled back into negative territory in October, with assessments of national conditions dimming considerably.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts on Tuesday reported a business confidence index reading of 46.7 on a scale where 50 is neutral.

AIM officials said most survey responses arrived during the partial government shutdown, which has since ended but without solutions to major federal issues.

AIM’s index of national business conditions dropped 6.7 points to 37.8 and its index assessing business conditions in Massachusetts lost 2.7 points, falling to 44.5. AIM’s national index last hit its current level in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Citing polarized views on the Affordable Care Act, for example, AIM President Richard Lord said problems in Washington are not limited to fiscal issues. “The larger problem for business confidence is that the federal government is not giving us the decisions and action we need — even when it is ostensibly up and running,” Lord said in a statement.

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