Manufacturing, Regional Collaboration Top Priorities for Regional Firms

More than two-thirds of businesses in northwestern Connecticut give the region's economy a below average rating, according to the results of a new survey released today.

And the 2012 Survey of Northwest Connecticut Businesses found that more than half believe economic conditions will remain unchanged over the next 12 months.

Published by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, the survey illustrates the region's challenges, priorities, concerns, and growth prospects.

More than one-third of respondents cited the weak economy as their single greatest challenge, with 21% nominating taxes, and 19% singling out state mandates and regulatory burdens.

"The survey shows the need for state policymakers to focus on providing more confidence to area business leaders by doing things like getting the state's fiscal house in order," said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.

Nine out of 10 respondents said they were concerned or extremely concerned about the state's fiscal situation and budget deficit. Two-thirds say the deficit impacted their long-term business decisions.

The greatest period of economic recovery for the region in terms of jobs, housing, and consumer confidence is largely predicted to occur in 2014. The next biggest cluster of respondents thinks it will be delayed to 2016 or beyond.

Fewer than 15% of respondents expect this type of recovery for the region, state, or U.S. in 2013, and virtually no one expects it in 2012.

Most survey respondents believe northwestern Connecticut must strengthen regional collaboration, maintain and grow the area's manufacturing base, and invest in improvements to towns, cities, and education.

The 2012 Survey of Northwest Connecticut Businesses was sponsored by Alcoa Inc., BD, Litchfield Bancorp, Northwest Utilities Companies, Northwest Community Bank, and Webster Bank.

The survey was emailed to top executives at approximately 1,100 businesses throughout northwestern Connecticut in mid-September 2012. CBIA received 370 responses, for a return rate of 33.6% and a margin of error of +/-5.2%.

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CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, please contact Joe Budd (860.244.1951; joe.budd@cbia.com) or visit the CBIA Newsroom.

The Chamber of Commerce of Northwest Connecticut is the premier business resource for 20 towns in the region and works tirelessly to fulfill its mission of promoting economic growth while enhancing the region's quality of life. For more information, visit the chamber's website.