Connecticut’s business community showed a sharp increase in optimism during the fourth quarter, according to a new Connecticut Business & Industry Association survey.
The 2016 CBIA/Farmington Bank 4th Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey found 40 percent of business leaders expected improved conditions for their firms, up from 26 percent the previous quarter.
Thirty-nine percent expected stable conditions compared with 49 percent in the third quarter and 21 percent had a negative outlook, down from 24 percent.
Twenty-four percent of respondents said they expected to increase their workforce, up from 19 percent, while 65 percent predicted no change, up from 59 percent, and 11 percent said they planned reductions, down from 23 percent.
“It’s heartening to see the jump upwards in those expecting better conditions for the economy, their own company, and hiring,” CBIA economist Pete Gioia said.
A representative sample of Connecticut businesses were surveyed via email between mid-January and early February following the state and presidential elections. There were 173 respondents with a margin of error plus or minus 7.5 percent.
Businesses were also asked to speculate about the impact of the Trump administration’s economic, regulatory and fiscal policies on Connecticut’s economy. Fifty-nine percent said they expected a positive impact on growth, 6 percent saw no impact, 10 percent a negative impact and 25 percent said they were uncertain.
DataCore Partners economist Don Klepper-Smith said Connecticut’s sluggish post-recession job growth continues to be a concern, with the state losing 2,000 jobs in 2016 based on preliminary reports.
The survey also found:
- 29 percent of respondents used financing in the last three months, compared with 38 percent in the third quarter;
- 86 percent of those used bank loans and lines of credit to meet credit needs, compared with 78 percent in the third quarter;
- 90 percent were able to satisfy their borrowing needs, compared with 79 percent in the third quarter;
- 76 percent considered the state’s lending climate to be average, good, or excellent , compared with 79 percent in the third quarter;
- 56 percent expected the lending climate to remain stable over the next three months, compared with 43 percent; 24 percent said it will be fair or poor, compared with 28 percent; and 19 percent believed it will be good or excellent, compared with 29 percent.