Survey finds manufacturers are very pessimistic about conditions in Connecticut

A statewide survey of manufacturers released Monday indicated that more than half have been recruited to move out of Connecticut and that half have seriously considered it.

The Connecticut Manufacturing Industry Survey, sponsored by a group of statewide industry associations and chambers of commerce, indicated that economic conditions might be a major factor in businesses deciding to relocate. Eighty-six percent of manufacturers responding to the survey said the state's economic conditions were "fair" or "poor," and more than two thirds didn't expect things to improve any time soon.

At the top of the list of states that have recruited Connecticut manufacturers are North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Georgia. Top reasons mentioned for considering a move out of state were government attitude, operating costs and tax structure.

"These findings provide important insights into how our industry views the current state of manufacturing in Connecticut," said Frank Johnson, president of the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut, in a statement.

Initiated by the alliance, the survey was a first for the group and is intended to provide a benchmark for future research.

Among other key findings of the survey: manufacturing sales were higher in 2012 than a year earlier, and hopes for 2013 were even higher, and state and federal hiring incentives have not lured the majority of companies to add new employees.

The survey also found that employment is trending slightly higher this year than in 2012, but nearly 80 percent of manufacturers say finding qualified employees is difficult. More than half of manufacturers expected employment increases in 2014 compared with this year.

Other organizations involved in the survey were the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Connecticut Tooling & Machining Association, CONNSTEP, Employers Association of the NorthEast, Waterbury Regional Chamber, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, New England Spring Manufacturers Association, New Haven Manufacturers Association, Northwest Chamber of Commerce, Robinson & Cole LLP and Smaller Manufacturers Association.

The full survey report is available at http://www.mact.org/images/home/CTManuIndSrvyRprt_May2013.pdf.

l.howard@theday.com

 

MANUFACTURER SURVEY FINDINGS

-- 86 percent saw state economic conditions as fair or poor.

-- 69 percent saw economic conditions staying the same or worsening in the next six to 12 months.

-- 52 percent have been recruited to move out of state.

-- 56 percent had higher sales in 2012 than 2011.

-- 59 percent of products are sold out of state, only 30 percent in state.

-- 85 percent of manufacturers' products are made in state.

-- 39 percent said 2013 employment levels were higher than in 2012, while 27 percent had fewer workers.

-- 91 percent of firms are non-union shops.

SOURCE: Connecticut Manufacturing Industry Survey

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