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State business confidence index slips

A Massachusetts business confidence index posted a June reading of 48.3, the lowest since October.

June’s reading was 8.5 points lower than May’s. The decline was the second-largest in the history of the 21-year-old index from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, an employer group.

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“A drop was hardly unexpected, especially in view of a spate of negative economic reports during the month,” said Raymond G. Torto, chairman of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors. “It remains to be seen how long this slump will last, and whether the size of the June decline may have been exaggerated by the timing of the responses. The economy is obviously in much better shape than it was three years ago, but it remains fragile, and employers are very aware of threats and uncertainties.”

The index uses a 100-point scale. A reading above 50 is positive; below 50 is negative. The index reached its historic high of 68.5 on two occasions, in 1997 and in 1998. Its record low of 33.3 was recorded in February 2009.

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