This December, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index (BCI) hit its highest level since December 2004. The BCI rose 2.3 points from 58.1 to 60.4 last month, a figure that has experienced increases in the Commonwealth in each of the last four months. It is also 5.1 points higher than it was in December 2015. The AIM Index is a survey among Massachusetts employers and has appeared every month since its inception in July 1991. It is based on a 100-point scale. 50 is neutral, above 50 is positive, and below 50 is negative. The index has remained positive since October 2013.
Employer confidence is based on economic expansion in 2016 that is believed to continue into 2017. The jump in confidence mirrors the post-election rally in U.S. financial markets, so it is also based on optimism that President-Elect Donald Trump and a Republican Congress will work on business-friendly issues and prioritize economic growth. But the rise in employer confidence in the Commonwealth does not merely mirror the rally of U.S. markets. Massachusetts businesses have been very confident relative to the rest of the country over the past several years. In fact, December marked the 80th consecutive month in which employers have been more optimistic about the Massachusetts than the U.S. economy.