BOSTON — Employer confidence shot up in July to its highest level in almost a year, but analysts from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts cautioned that the surge came despite "mounting evidence of an economic slowdown."
The group also floated its opposition to tax hikes from the Legislature.
AIM's Business Confidence Index climbed 4.4 points to 62 in July, higher than it has been since last September. The index is measured from zero to 100, with 50 being neutral.
Raymond Torto, chair of AIM's Board of Economic Advisors, said it is good news that employers are feeling better about the economy than six months ago, but warned against drawing any conclusions from July's results.
"With a host of seemingly conflicting indicators at play — unemployment in Massachusetts remains at a low 2.9 percent while economic growth slowed from an annualized rate of 2.7 percent to 1.4 percent during the second quarter — it will be interesting to see how employer optimism holds up for the rest of 2019," he said.
In its announcement of employer confidence levels, AIM also raised the revenue debate the House is expected to hold this fall as lawmakers consider ways to funnel more money into public transportation.
AIM President and CEO John Regan said that businesses "already burdened with business and compliance costs" could be put under greater stress if the Legislature opts for tax increases.
"Beacon Hill is awash with calls for more revenue. But the slowing of the economy during the second quarter means this is exactly the wrong time to place additional cost burdens on business," Regan said. "If the economy goes into a downturn while costs are increasing that will create big challenges for employers."
Business groups have decried the Boston area's public transportation woes as a hindrance to growth and some, including various chambers of commerce, have formed a working group to amplify the business community's voice in the debate.