The manufacturing sector will play a key role as businesses lead the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a new report released today.

The 2020 Connecticut Manufacturing Report, produced by CBIA and affiliates CONNSTEP and ReadyCT—and made possible through the support of Stanley Black & Decker—reviews the state of the sector, explores the outlook for the next 12 months, growth factors, key initiatives, hiring and investment trends, and the impact of state and federal policies.

Released at the annual Made in Connecticut: Manufacturing Summit, the survey captures how the state’s manufacturing community is navigating an extraordinarily challenging and unprecedented period.

Key findings:

  • More than half (56%) of manufacturers had to lay off, furlough, or reduce employee hours as a result of the pandemic
  • Manufacturers implemented additional, voluntary health and safety precautions to protect employees and prevent workplace transmission of the coronavirus
  • 85% of surveyed manufacturers applied for a federal PPP loan, with 97% of those applications successful
  • Less than half (46%) expect to return a profit in 2020, down 30 percentage points from 2019.
  • Only 18% of respondents said their businesses were growing, while 82% said they were either contracting or holding steady.
  • More than half expect employment levels to remain stable over the next six months, with 20% forecasting growth and 23% a decline
  • The outlook for both the state and national economies is soft—only 10% expect the Connecticut economy to expand next year, with 32% forecasting national growth

“Connecticut policymakers must better understand the obstacles to growth faced by the state’s manufacturing sector and demonstrate support for this critical component of our economy,” said CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima.

“It’s time to support policies that will help manufacturers—particularly small manufacturers—manage the high cost of navigating COVID-19 restrictions, create and retain jobs, and lead the state’s economic recovery and growth for the benefit of all.”

"It’s time to support policies that will help manufacturers manage the high cost of navigating COVID-19 restrictions, create and retain jobs, and lead the state’s economic recovery and growth for the benefit of all."

CBIA's Chris DiPentima

“At the start of this year, the top concern for most manufacturers was the shortage of skilled workers,” said Colin Cooper, Connecticut’s chief manufacturing officer. 

“While it will take some time to regain the jobs lost to the pandemic and the subsequent recession, the age of the Connecticut manufacturing workforce will continue to drive high levels of retirement and thus the need for new entrants.”

““The next industrial revolution is going to revolve around artificial intelligence and smart factories, and we won’t lose jobs, we’ll improve the quality of them,” said Kelli-Marie Vallieres, director of the new Workforce Development Unit, a part of the Department of Economic and Community Development. 

“That’s why we need to start focusing on the children in school today. They will be our workforce of the future.”

The 2020 Manufacturing Report survey was mailed and emailed from July 8 through July 29 to 878 top manufacturing executives throughout the state; 283 business leaders participated in the survey, with a response rate of 32% and a margin of error of +/-3%.

Almost 72% of those who responded to CBIA’s July survey employ fewer than 50 workers; 87% have less than 100 employees. The average age of those surveyed companies is 53 years, with almost 93% having been in operation for more than 20 years.


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 contact Joe Budd (860.244.1951).