Connecticut’s economy is showing signs of improvement according to a new survey of businesses in the state, but issues at the international and national levels remain concerns.

The Connecticut Business & Industry’s Fourth Quarter 2011 Economic Survey found that businesses were more optimistic in the fourth quarter than they were in the third quarter of last year.

“The fourth quarter survey was a welcome change to the results of our third quarter report,” says CBIA economist Pete Gioia. “While too early to determine a trend, the survey shows optimism for growth on par with a steady economic recovery.”

The survey shows 46% of respondents see their own firm improving over the next three months, with only 14% expecting a worsening. In the third quarter survey, only 29% of respondents saw the potential of improvement and 28% instead saw the potential that their firm would worsen.

The survey also saw executives expecting more growth nationally first, then locally. Thirty-seven percent of respondents expect the US economy to improve, while 19% expect further worsening. Although still better than last quarter, expectations at the state level are weaker. Twenty-three percent of respondents see the state economy improving while 34% expect continued deterioration.

“While this survey shows business leaders are beginning to gain confidence, there are challenges to be met going forward. That’s why it’s important for our policymakers to continue to lean the cost of state government, reform public education, reduce and address barriers to economic growth, and modernize state infrastructure,” Gioia says.

Fourth quarter economic survey key performance indicators:

  • 47% expected increased production and sales for the next quarter, up from 35% in the third quarter
  • 46% of respondents see future gains in productivity and wages
  • 23% expect to add workers and 13% expect to decrease workers over the next quarter, compared to only 16 percent saying they expected to add last quarter and 22% who expected to cut jobs.

CBIA’s fourth quarter 2011 economic survey was emailed to 1,950 Connecticut businesses in early January, 2012. A total of 216 executives responded, with an 11% response rate and margin of error of
+/-6.8 percent.