Nearly 50% of Connecticut business leaders expect conditions to remain stable, while 30% anticipate improvement for their firm over the next three months, according to a survey released today.

The 2016 CBIA/Farmington Bank 1st Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey found 87% of respondents expect their workforce to remain stable or increase, unchanged from last quarter.

Whether companies expect to grow their workforce--a key economic indicator--has changed little over the last six quarters.

“Business owners will only invest and create jobs if they feel business conditions are stable,” said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.

“To turn this cautiously optimistic outlook into reality, we must make economic growth a top priority in the state.”

A year ago, 39% of those surveyed forecast improvement for their firms, while 52% expected conditions to remain stable.

When asked how likely they thought the U.S. would go into recession in 2016, 53% answered highly unlikely or unlikely, while 35% felt it was likely or highly likely.

“We are clearly starting to see cracks in our economic recovery, but recession is not a foregone conclusion,” said DataCore Partners’ Don Klepper-Smith.

The survey also found:

  • 61% are making capital investments, mainly to improve production or sales (54%), trim operational costs (45%), and invest in technology (40%)
  • 88% report credit availability is not a problem; 95% have had no changes in lending terms
  • 25% describe Connecticut’s lending climate as good or excellent, while 56% consider it average
  • 93% were able to fully or partially meet borrowing needs over the last 3 months

The Farmington Bank Credit Availability Index is a diffusion index that speaks to the health of Connecticut’s credit markets.

This quarter, the FBCAI was 51.7, down 25% from one year ago, reflecting concerns about future credit conditions.

“Credit conditions often reflect general economic uncertainty,” said John Patrick, Jr., chairman, president, and CEO of Farmington Bank.

“We must all continue to work hard to get businesspeople—especially small business owners, who are the economic drivers for job growth in the state—the capital and the confidence they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.”

The 2016 CBIA/Farmington Bank 1st Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey was emailed to 1,800 Connecticut business leaders in April 2016. A total of 202 responded, for an estimated response rate of 11.2% and a margin of error of +/- 7.0%.