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Massachusetts employers grew more confident again in April, despite an economy slowed by inflation and geopolitical uncertainty during the first quarter. 

The Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index (BCI) gained 0.9 points last month to 58.1. The index has now risen for three consecutive months and sits comfortably within optimistic territory. 

The increase reflected strengthening employer views about both the Massachusetts and U.S. economies, even though real GDP declined at an annual rate of 1.4% nationally and an estimated 1.0% in the state during the first quarter of 2022. 

The Central Massachusetts Business Confidence Index, conducted with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, showed Worcester County employers with a 56.9 confidence reading. The North Shore Confidence Index, conducted with the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, was 61.8.  

At the same time, tax collections in Massachusetts were $2 billion more than expected during April, pushing the state at least $3.5 billion ahead of its year-to-date benchmark with just two months left in the fiscal year. 

“Massachusetts companies remain optimistic about the sustainability of the economic expansion even amid tightening financial conditions and uncertainties related to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine,” said Sara L. Johnson, chair of the AIM Board of Economic Advisors. “Every element of the Business Confidence Index was in optimistic territory last month, with the highest reading for employers’ views about the prospects of their own companies.” 

The AIM Index, based on a survey of more than 140 Massachusetts employers, has appeared monthly since July 1991. It is calculated on a 100-point scale, with 50 as neutral; a reading above 50 is positive, while below 50 is negative. The index reached its historic high of 68.5 on two occasions in 1997-98, and its all-time low of 33.3 in February 2009. 

The constituent indicators that make up the index were mostly higher in April. 

The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth jumped 1.7 points to 57.3, down 3.1 points since April 2021. The US Index measuring conditions throughout the country moved into optimistic territory at 53.1, up from 49.9 in March. 

Employers are equally bullish about future business conditions and present ones. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, rose 1.5 points to 58.1. The Future Index, measuring projections for the economy six months from now, gained 0.3 points to 58.0. 

The confidence employers have in their own companies declined 0.2 points to 60.0, ending the month 1.6 points lower than in April 2021. 

The Manufacturing Index increased 0.7 points to 56.3 for its third consecutive monthly gain. The Manufacturing Index now stands 3.2 points less than a year ago. 

Small companies (60.0) were more optimistic than medium-sized companies (57.3) or large companies (56.7). 

Alan Clayton-Matthews, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy at Northeastern University, senior contributing editor, MassBenchmarks and a BEA member, said the state and national economies continued to create jobs during the first quarter of the year. 

“Massachusetts payroll employment in the first quarter grew at an annual rate of 5.2 percent, slightly faster than the 4.8% pace for the U.S.,” Clayton-Matthews said. 

“Between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 employment increased by 5.3 percent in Massachusetts and 4.6% in the U.S. However, in March 2022, the state remained 2.4% below pre-pandemic payroll employment levels, which peaked in February 2020.” 

Building Permits

The following building permits were issued during the months of April and May 2021. (Filings are limited due to closures or reduced staffing hours at municipal offices due to COVID-19 restrictions).

AMHERST

Amherst College
151 College St.
$30,000 — Reconstruct deteriorated concrete slab supporting brine water tanks

Amherst College
212 Northampton Road
$287,000 — Scoreboard foundation, athletic light footings and retaining walls, block wall, concrete stairs, shed

Northland Boulders, LLC
188 East Hadley Road
$209,940 — Fire-alarm system with monitoring for three buildings

Survival Centers, LLC
138 Sunderland Road
$44,457 — Install walk-in freezer, walk-in cooler with outdoor remote refrigeration system on concrete

CHICOPEE

A & B Realty, LLC
118 Lorraine St.
$25,000 — Roofing

Main Street Property
340 McKinstry Ave.
$405,000 — Roofing

RT Commercials, LLC
185 Grove St.
$26,747 — Install new NFPA #13 system within gutted building that is being renovated into a pizza shop

VSH Realty Inc.
37 Montcalm St.
$1,200 — Replace existing rooftop unit, disconnect electrical on old RTU and reinstall on new RTU

HADLEY

CHC Windfield Senior, LLC
30 Greenleaves Dr.
Replace insulation, drywall, and flooring from water damage

Hampshire Mosque Inc.
451 Russell St.
Sheetrock and painting

James Mallet
9 Frost Lane
Insulation

Target Corp.
369 Russell St.
Replace existing wall sign

LEE

Apache Oil Co.
55 Housatonic St.
$3,850 — Install chicken counter with hood and gas line installed

LENOX

Berkshire Retirement Community
40 Sunset Ave.
$73,400 — Install new bathtubs and showers in three existing shower areas

Cornell Inn Holdings, LLC
203 Main St.
$10,000 — Construct ADA ramp and rework landing to main lobby

L & S, LP
426 Pittsfield Road
$70,000 — Replace decking and steel perlings on canopy

L & S, LP
426 Pittsfield Road
$2,000 — Remove and reinstall fire-suppression cylinders after canopy work

Town of Lenox
65 Walker St.
$5,320 — Install seven vinyl windows

NORTHAMPTON

City of Northampton
80 Locust St.
$169,085 — Renovate nurse’s office at Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School

Gerald Randall
216 North King St.
$6,000 — Illuminated wall sign for Truelieve

Gerald Randall
216 North King St.
$3,000 — Awning sign for Truelieve

Gerald Randall
216 North King St.
$2,500 — Illuminated wall sign for Truelieve

Smith College
164 Green St.
$450,000 — Install replacement windows on Tyler House

Smith College
30 Henshaw Ave.
$18,250 — Roofing on Tilly Hall

Smith College
1 Paradise Road
$450,000 — Renovate first floor of Gardiner House to improve access

ZQHW Corp.
60 King St.
$58,400 — Repair damage due to car impact

SPRINGFIELD

A1 Sumner Plaza, LLC
876 Sumner Ave.
$3,000 — Alter interior tenant space for new use as Virtue Salon

Chestnut Park Preservation, LP
10 Chestnut St.
$28,000 — Remove and replace six antennas, install three RRUs and two cabinets on T-Mobile wireless telecommunications tower

CJ’s Towing
350 Pasco Road
$168,800 — Roofing

Mittas Hospitality, LLC; DD Development, LLC; Rudra Realty, LLC
1500 Main St.
$3,000 — Install fire-alarm system at White Lion Brewery

Pearson-Cooley Development Co., LP
1334 Liberty St.
$13,000 — Alter interior commercial tenant space at Prime Liquors, merging two existing spaces into one

Spring Park Properties Inc.
192 White St.
$20,000 — Remove and replace three antennas and three RRUs, install new cabinet on T-Mobile wireless telecommunications tower

Wason Avenue Partners II, LLC
80 Wason Ave.
$34,827 — Alter interior medical space for Baystate Health, rework sinks and room assignments, clinical trials suite, phase 2 reconfiguration

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