A group of leading Connecticut manufacturing industry associations and chambers of commerce today released the findings of an industry-wide survey of the state’s manufacturers. The survey was designed to provide manufacturing leaders and advocates, as well as state policymakers, with current insight into the mindset of business owners in one of Connecticut’s most important industries. The survey found an industry in which businesses face serious challenges at home and are simultaneously being recruited to move or expand their operations to other states.
Conducted in spring 2013, the survey initiative was led by the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut (MAC), and collected opinion data from more than 200 manufacturers across the state. The survey was designed to provide benchmark data on issues important to the manufacturing industry, with additional surveys to be fielded in the future.
“MAC and other organizations committed to the well-being of our industry undertook this project to learn more about how Connecticut manufacturers are faring and the challenges they face,” said Frank Johnson, President of MAC. “We learned a great deal from the survey’s results. We think it is important to share the findings with Connecticut’s policymakers and the state as a whole, so we can work together to find ways to support an industry that is critical to our state’s economic future.”
Among the key findings of the survey:
Manufacturers rate the state’s economic conditions as poor and have little expectation of change: Connecticut manufacturers rate economic conditions negatively in the state both in general and specifically in terms of their industry
Most Connecticut manufacturers have been courted by other states: A majority of Connecticut manufacturers report having been recruited to relocate or expand to other states, with North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Georgia most frequently cited as recruiting states.
Sales: 2012 higher than 2011, not as high as hoped: For most manufacturers 2012’s sales were better than 2011’s, but not as good as they had forecasted. A majority of manufacturers express optimism for the current year, projecting higher sales for 2013.
While employment levels are trending slightly upward, qualified employees hard to find: Overall, most manufacturers report higher levels of employment in 2013 than in 2012, and a majority anticipate higher levels in 2014 than 2013. However, nearly eight in ten manufacturers say they have difficulty finding employees with the qualifications or skills needed at their business.
State and federal hiring incentives unused by most manufacturers: A majority of manufacturers say they have not used Connecticut hiring incentives; nearly all manufacturers say they haven’t used federal hiring incentives.
This survey marks the first industry-wide survey conducted by MAC and its partners. Future surveys will seek to establish a trend of up-to-date data and explore new issues of relevance to Connecticut’s manufacturing industry.
“We found the survey results interesting and important,” said Johnson. “Our industry is always seeking ways to work with state policymakers to improve the climate for manufacturers. These findings provide important insights into how our industry views the current state of manufacturing in Connecticut as well as how our industry can help the state’s leadership make sure these manufacturers are able to grow and thrive right here in Connecticut.”