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Employer Confidence Flat During July

BOSTON — Confidence levels among Massachusetts employers were virtually unchanged during July as strong economic growth balanced persistent concerns about tariffs and escalating international trade tensions. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index dropped 0.1 point to 61.2 last month after tumbling more than five points in June. The drop left the BCI three-tenths of a point lower than a year ago, though still comfortably within optimistic territory. The constituent indicators that make up the overall Business Confidence Index were mixed during July. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth gained 2.3 points to 65.1, leaving it 1.9 points ahead of July 2017. The U.S. Index ended the month at 61.9, rising 1.9 points after sliding 9.3 points the previous month. The US Index was 4 points better than a year ago. July marked the 101st consecutive month in which employers have been more optimistic about the Massachusetts economy than the national economy. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, rose 0.1 point to 63.6. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, fell 0.4 point. The Current Index gained 2.4 points during the year, while the Future Index lost 3.1 points. Employer views of their own companies weakened. The Company Index declined 1.5 points to 59.7, down 2.5 points for 12 months. The Employment Index ended the month at 54.5, a 0.5-point decrease for the month and 1.2 points lower than a year ago. The Sales Index lost 0.6 point for the month and 2.3 points for the year.

Bradley Launches Daily, Non-stop Service to St. Louis

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — This week, the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) launched its inaugural Southwest Airlines flight from Bradley International Airport to St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The new daily, non-stop service departs from Bradley at 11:10 a.m. (EST) and arrives at St. Louis Lambert International Airport at 12:45 p.m. (CST). The inbound flight leaves St. Louis at 4:25 p.m. (CST) and arrives at Bradley at 7:50 p.m. (EST). The service utilizes a Boeing 737. Southwest Airlines currently offers non-stop service from Bradley International Airport to Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa, St. Louis, and West Palm Beach. The airline first started flying out of Bradley in 1999.

Greater Holyoke Chamber, HCC Announce Leadership Holyoke 2018-19

HOLYOKE — Leadership Holyoke — a comprehensive community leadership and board-development program of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce — is back again. Leadership Holyoke utilizes a combination of classes and practical experiences to help local business people develop their leadership skills, increase their knowledge of the community, and acquire the skills needed to serve as board members and community leaders. The series is made possible by PeoplesBank and the Republican. The 2018-19 leadership series begins on Sept. 21, consists of eight seven-hour sessions, and concludes on May 8 with a graduation ceremony at Holyoke Community College with a specialty luncheon prepared by the college’s culinary program students. All sessions will be held on Fridays (except for the Boston State House trip) and take place at Holyoke Community College and other locations throughout the city. Each session will include a segment on organization and leadership skills and a segment on community needs and resources. Faculty members from Holyoke Community College will participate as instructors and facilitators, and community leaders will participate as speakers and discussion leaders in their areas of their expertise. Tuition of $600 per participant is due at the start of the course and includes the fee for a continental breakfast each week, a bus trip to Boston, and the graduation luncheon. Sign up online at holyokechamber.com or call the chamber with any questions at (413) 534-3376.

DPH: Job-related Injuries Often Lead to Opioid Misuse

BOSTON — The rate of fatal opioid overdoses varied significantly by industry and occupation from 2011 to 2015, with construction workers dying from opioid overdoses at six times the average rate for all Massachusetts workers, according to a report released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Using available death-certificate data, DPH analyzed 4,302 opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts from 2011 to 2015 by industry and occupation to understand whether work, and specifically work-related injuries, might have contributed to opioid-use disorders. Overall, workers employed in occupations known to have high rates of work-related injuries had higher rates of fatal opioid overdoses. In addition, workers in occupations with lower rates of paid sick leave and higher job insecurity had higher rates of opioid overdoses. Construction and extraction workers (quarrying and mining) accounted for more than 24% of all opioid-related deaths among the working population. This occupation group had a high death rate — 150.6 deaths per 100,000 workers — and a high number of opioid-related deaths — 1,096 — during this time period. Despite the small number of workers employed in the farming, fishing, and forestry occupations, these jobs also had a high opioid death rate. While there were fewer deaths among this group (61) than in the construction occupations, the rate of opioid-related deaths — 143.9 per 100,000 workers — was more than five times the average rate of 25.1 per 100,000 for Massachusetts workers. Several other occupations also had rates of opioid-related overdose deaths that were significantly higher than the average rate for all Massachusetts workers. These included jobs in material moving; installation, maintenance, and repair; transportation; production; food preparation and serving; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; and healthcare support. Similar to findings for all opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts, the majority — 77.3% — of deaths in this study were among males. However, there were several occupation groups where females had significantly elevated rates of opioid-related overdose deaths, particularly healthcare support and food preparation and serving.