surveyHARTFORD: Responders to CBIA’s Fourth Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey demonstrate a stable but relatively slow growing environment.

Fewer than a third of companies 28% of companies expect to add employees, up from 21% in the previous quarter. More than half (54%) of surveyed companies say their workforce will remain stable—compared with 63% in the third quarter—while 17% expect to downsize, unchanged from the last quarter.

While Thirty-eight percent of businesses have an improved outlook for their firms, most Connecticut businesses are not participating in the ever increasing global marketplace, with 77% reporting they have no or a minimal amount of international business. 46% of the survey responders were manufacturers, 85% of responders had fewer than 100 employees.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia however, said the manufacturing sector was particularly bullish, representing 62% of those companies expecting to add employees.

"Manufacturers represent over half of those reporting either an improved or stable outlook," Gioia said today.

"That ties in with what we saw in the third quarter GDP numbers and the preliminary jobs report from last year, which showed manufacturing driving economic and job growth."

Gioia said nearly two-thirds of respondents hired at least one new employee in the 90 days prior to completing the survey.

Finding qualifying employees continues to be a major problemfor employers, 48% of those trying to hire couldn't fill open positions. Goia, explained, "companies want to hire more. While we heard again about unfilled manufacturing jobs, we also heard up to 80 different job titles that were yet to be filled.

The difficulty in hiring was not just in the highly skilled sector but across a very wide range of occupations and needs, Gioia said in-demand jobs included truck drivers, sales staff, chemists, toolmakers, supervisors, butchers, veterinary assistants, estimators, customer service staff, welders, foremen, engineers, and machinists.

On the good news front CBIA survey responders at least were able to get the financing their companies needed with only 5% reporting they were unable to satisfy their financing needs.

CBIA’s 2017 Fourth Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey was emailed to businesses in January 2018 with an 8.3% response rate and a +/-9% margin of error.