May 1, 2012 | last updated May 2, 2012 11:48 am

Mass. Business Confidence Rises Again

Confidence among the state's business leaders rose to its highest level in nearly five years, indicating a return to better health for the Massachusetts economy after the recession, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) said today.

AIM's Business Confidence Index for April came in at 57.1 on a 100-point scale, up from 54.8 in March, representing the index's best reading since August 2007, just months before the start of what many have called The Great Recession.

"Massachusetts employers are somewhat more positive about general business conditions than they were last April (when the index measured 56.1) and a bit less positive about conditions for their own operations," said Raymond G. Torto, global chief economist at CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., and chairman of AIM's Board of Economic Advisers. "A slow-growth economy, beset by uncertainties, is challenging for many companies; larger employers may be able to accept this 'new normal,' while smaller firms continue to hope for a more robust recovery."

The index, while up just a point over last year, has risen 9.6 points over two years and 21.7 over three. A reading of 50 is neutral; above 50 is positive, while below 50 is negative. The index, unveiled in 1991, reached its high of 68.5 on two occasions in 1997 and 1998, and its all-time low of 33.3 in February 2009.

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