Connecticut businesses are struggliong to grow in a post-recession economy, according to the results of the 2012 Survey of Connecticut Businesses, published by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and the accounting, tax and business consulting firm BlumShapiro.

The survey found that while some progress was made to address concerns about workforce development, small business access to state financing programs, and streamlining regulatory processes, Connecticut has a long way to go to create a business climate that fosters business success.

The annual survey, released today at the Connecticut Economy conference in Rocky Hill, takes the pulse of Connecticut's business community, identifying issues and trends within the state's economic, fiscal and regulatory climates.

Since the last survey in the summer of 2011, the state's economy fluctuated, growing at a moderate pace through January 2012, but struggled to expand in the ensuing months.

Although companies were cautiously optimistic about their own profitability and hiring over the next year, business confidence remained fragile, and key metrics pointed to continued slow growth.

"We need to restore business confidence in Connecticut in order to secure job growth and create a bright economic future," said John Rathgeber, CBIA's president and CEO. "But to do so we must address our state fiscal challenges, business costs, workforce preparedness and infrastructure needs."

"The 2012 Survey of Connecticut Businesses shows the state's economy is making progress on many fronts, including manufacturing and education reform," says Tom DeVitto, chief marketing officer at BlumShapiro.

"Yet the report also shows that the demand persists for both business and government leaders to create a more favorable business climate if we expect Connecticut companies to stay in Connecticut and thrive during this long, slow recovery. We must improve the course to create a sustainable business climate."

The 2012 survey revealed a slight upward trajectory in business profitability in the state, but business conditions did not improve greatly over the last year. Of the businesses surveyed, only 25% rated current conditions as excellent or good.

"This economy continues to be driven by the dual mandate of increased productivity and increased profitability," says adds Don Klepper-Smith, chief economist and director of research at DataCorePartners.

"The fact that business profitability has yet to recover to its pre-recessionary levels is not surprising. It is indicative of the overall slow pace of economic expansion, underlying economic uncertainty and profound structural changes that are often underappreciated."

The survey found that hiring was up within the state, with 43% of respondents either hiring or planning to hire new full-time workers in 2012. Yet 47% reported difficulty finding qualified workers.

"Connecticut's new education reform law and expanded precision machining training in several of the state's community colleges was helping address the state's talent shortage," said Rathgeber, adding that more progress in workforce development was needed.

The 2012 Survey of Connecticut Businesses was emailed in June to businesses throughout the state. There were 580 responses, for a margin of error of +/-4.15 percent.

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CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, please contact Meaghan MacDonald, 860.244.1957; meaghan.macdonald@cbia.com or visit cbia.com/newsroom.

BlumShapiro is the largest regional accounting, tax, and business consulting firm based in New England, with offices in West Hartford and Shelton, CT, and Boston, and Rockland, MA. For more information about BlumShapiro, visit blumshapiro.com.