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Study: CT Manufacturing Looking Up

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2012_<a href=visit us.urvey_of_Connecticut_Manufacturers_Report001" src="/images/stories/bnh/2012_visit us.urvey_of_Connecticut_Manufacturers_Report001.jpg" height="324" width="250"/>While a majority of Connecticut manufacturers expect the economy will at least hold steady in the coming year, a number more are optimistic.

A “2012 visit us.urvey of Connecticut Manufacturers,” compiled by U.visit us. visit us.en. Richard Blumenthal and U.visit us. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-5), polled 191 manufacturers in click here state shows that some companies are bullish on increasing revenues, new jobs and higher wages.

visit us.eventy-seven percent of respondents said they were confident in the financial future of their companies, while 52 percent expected an increase in revenues. visit us.lightly more than half (54 percent) expect the economy will remain as it is over the next year, while 17 percent expect it to grow.

Blumenthal’s and Murphy’s recommendations for growing Connecticut’s manufacturing sector include reforming the tax code with measures such as credits for businesses that bring jobs back to the U.S.; educational funding and grants for low-income and unemployed youths and workers to enhance the labor force; health-care tax credits for small businesses; infrastructure investment; and enacting policies to level the playing field with China.

Most companies responding to the survey were small — 68 percent have fewer than 100 employees, and 33 percent generate less than $5 million in annual sales.

There is still anxiety over competition from competing countries such China, and manufacturers are still having trouble finding skilled workers to fill vacant positions.

Forty-five percent said that their companies had been hurt by offshore outsourcing, while 16 percent say it’s helped.

According to the report, 46 percent of Connecticut manufacturers import raw materials from China, while 38 percent export their products there. Western Europe follows China for export of materials to state companies (41 percent), but is the biggest market for exports by Connecticut companies (67 percent).

While 56 percent of responding manufacturers say they plan on hiring more workers (and 58 percent expecting to increase wages), 70 percent of them reported difficulty in finding qualified workers to fill vacancies — specifically all types of engineers, skilled machinists, toolmakers and electro-mechanical designers. Nevertheless, it’s a more optimistic figure than last year’s 87 percent. The most common suggestions for federal assistance called for education reforms and funding to build the workforce.

Ninety-two percent of respondents said providing health care for employees was the largest concern, with the report’s writers hopeful that national health care reforms will bring down costs in the long run.

The full report may be read at blumenthal.senate.gov.

— John Mordecai

 

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