CBIA survey finds business confidence is low

Business confidence in the state remains fragile even as Connecticut climbs out of a long and grueling recession, according to an annual report released Friday by the 10,000-member Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

The 2012 Survey of Connecticut Businesses, done in cooperation with the accounting and consulting firm BlumShapiro, found that some pro-gress has been made in addressing issues involving workforce development, financing programs and streamlined regulations but most companies still have a negative view of the state's business climate.

And, while 59 percent of survey respondents said they made a profit last year, only 57 percent expect to wind up in the black this year. The report stated that last year saw a "slight upward trajectory" in business profitability, but conditions had not improved appreciably and only 25 percent of respondents characterized Connecticut's climate as good to excellent.

"Connecticut has a long way to go to create a business climate that fosters economic success," according to a summary of the report.

"Demand persists for both business and government leaders to create a more favorable business climate if we expect Connecticut companies to stay in Connecticut," added Tom DeVitto, chief marketing officer at BlumShapiro in a statement.

Sixty-nine percent of companies had a negative view of Connecticut as a place to do business, while only 15 percent had a generally positive attitude toward the state. Nearly one in three executives had been approached about moving to another state, but only 31 percent - down from 49 percent last year - had contemplated locating out of state, according to the survey.

The survey found hiring increasing statewide over the past year, with 43 percent of business operators saying they have added workers or planned to add employees in 2012. Forty-seven percent, however, say finding qualified workers remains a problem.

l.howard@theday.com

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