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Sluggish business growth abroad and concerning economic signs in the United States have chipped away at confidence levels of Massachusetts businesses, according to a leading trade group.

The Association Industries of Massachusetts said its business confidence index dropped 1.2 points in September to 55.9. Although any reading above 50 indicates more optimism than pessimism, the latest reading is below its March peak of 60.2 and 1.5 points above where it was in September 2014.

AIM said a weak national jobs report and concern at the Federal Reserve about the impact of raising interest rates have unnerved some executives and entrepreneurs.

“While the economy has been chugging along at present, business confidence appears to have suffered as a result of concerns about future uncertainties,” said Raymond Torto, a Harvard lecturer who leads AIM’s board of economic advisers, in a blog post. “Internationally, the slowdown in China sidelines one of the principal engines of global growth, while our other major export markets – Western Europe, Canada, Japan – are all weak.”

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Massachusetts businesses were more upbeat about their own operations than the state and national economies, with AIM’s company index dropping 1.3 points last month to 58.1. The state index value was 54.7 and the national index came in at 50.6.


Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.