Survey: Hiring Outlook Improves, Skilled Worker Shortages Persist

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More Connecticut businesses expect to increase their workforce, yet finding skilled workers remains a challenge according to a new survey released today.
CBIA’s 2017 Fourth Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey found 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.
Thirty-eight percent of businesses have an improved outlook for their firms, up one percentage point from the previous quarter.
The number of businesses with a stable outlook rose six points to 46%, with 16% expecting a downturn, down from 24% in the third quarter.

Manufacturing Strong; Open Positions Abound

CBIA economist Pete Gioia 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.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia

While two-thirds hired someone in the past three months, 48% of those trying to hire couldn't fill open positions.

"However, while two-thirds hired someone in the past three months and 60% plan to hire someone in the next three months, 48% of those trying to hire couldn't fill all their open positions," he said.
"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.
"This only further highlights the need for increased workforce development efforts to help fill vacant jobs around the state."
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.

Credit Availability

The survey shows commercial credit availability remains strong in Connecticut.
Eighty-seven percent say credit availability is not a problem for their firms and only 5% were unable to satisfy their financing needs.
Respondents still need credit for a wide range of needs, from credit lines to fund operations to expansion of facilities, equipment, and new product development.
Most respondents (86%) classify the current lending climate as average, good, or excellent while the same expect it to stay that way over the next three months.
"Credit is the lifeblood of small businesses," said Gioia.
"And confidence in credit availability signals businesses will seek to use it when the time comes to grow and invest."
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.

CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with thousands of member companies, small and large, representing a diverse range of industries from every part of the state. For more information, please email or call Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).


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