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Majority of Connecticut Residents Have Low Optimism for Business Conditions

(Follow up to 11/6/17 release entitled: Health, Safety, Students, Security of Vulnerable Populations Should be Top Priorities for State Spending)

(Statewide) - Connecticut residents increasingly believe that overall business conditions in the state are worsening, and an increasing percentage – now nearly half - expect that conditions will be about the same six months from now. More people believe that business conditions will continue to worsen than are of the view that they will improve.

More than twice as many residents, 51 percent, do not believe the Connecticut economy is improving, compared with 24 percent that believe it is. That is a slightly less pessimistic view than the previous quarter, when the breakdown was 55%-21%.

Regarding jobs, the percentage of residents who believe that “there are plenty of jobs for anyone who wants to work” has reached the highest level in nearly three years, although a majority continue to believe that there are some jobs, but not enough. Residents do not, however, expect the jobs picture to change much during the next six months. More than half, 58 percent, expect the employment situation in Connecticut to stay the same during that time. That percentage has remained relatively stable for more than two years.



Those results highlight the Q3 InformCT Consumer Confidence Survey. The survey is released by InformCT, a public-private partnership that provides independent, non-partisan research, analysis, and public outreach to help create fact-based dialogue and action in Connecticut. Administered by researchers from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. and Smith & Company, the analysis is based on the responses of residents across Connecticut and addresses key economic issues, providing a glimpse of the public’s views.

For the fourth consecutive quarter, the percentage of Connecticut residents who believe that overall business conditions in the state are worse now than six months ago has increased. In the fourth quarter of last year, 25 percent expressed that view. In the third quarter of 2017, that number has increased to 37 percent. The percentage who believe that overall business conditions have improved has dropped to 18 percent, tied for the lowest level since the quarterly surveys began.

Of Connecticut’s eight counties, the smallest percentage who believe conditions have worsened is in Windham County, at 20 percent. The highest percentage is in New London County, which more than doubles that, at 47 percent. The remaining six counties fall between 33 and 40 percent who believe overall business conditions are worse now than six months ago.

Viewed by age, the lowest percentage of the population that view business conditions as having improved are those age 46-55 (9%) and 56-65 (8%). Residents between age 22 and 45 have a much more positive view of changes in business conditions, with approximately one-quarter indicating that conditions are better now than six months ago.

Looking ahead, there is relatively little optimism. Nearly half of state residents, 49 percent, believe that business conditions will remain the same over the next six months. For the second consecutive quarter, only 23 percent believe conditions will improve, the lowest percentage since the quarterly surveys began. The latest survey found that 28 percent say business conditions will worsen, a slightly smaller percentage than in the previous quarter (33%).

In terms of their personal finances, a nearly equal number view their situation as better off or worse off when compared with six months ago. Twenty-nine percent say they’re worse off; 28 percent say they’re better off. There is more optimism looking ahead, however, with 40 percent expecting they will be better off, and 16 percent expecting their own financial situation to worsen. An identical 44 percent said their personal finances are about the same as six months ago, and they expect will continue to remain the same over the next six months.

Seven in ten state residents said they expect to take a vacation outside of Connecticut during the next six months, the third highest percentage indicating those plans since the survey began. Only 17 percent said it was very unlikely they would vacation outside of Connecticut during the next six months.

The survey also found:

  • 18% said it was somewhat likely or very likely they would refinance or purchase a new home in the next 6 months.
  • 42% expect to make a major consumer expenditure for furniture or some other product, the second highest percentage the survey has seen.

The survey of 505 state residents has a margin of error of 4 percent.