Nine in ten Connecticut manufacturers are struggling to find and retain workers, the biggest obstacle to the industry’s growth, according to a report released today.
The 2021 Connecticut Manufacturing Report, produced by the CBIA and its subsidiaries CONNSTEP and ReadyCT – and made possible with support from RSM – reviews the state of the industry, examines the impact of state and federal policies, and explores the outlook for the next 12 months, including growth factors, legislative priorities, and hiring and investment trends.
Published during the annual Made in Connecticut: Peak of Manufacturing, the survey shows how the state’s manufacturing community is handling the disruption associated with the coronavirus pandemic, moving from what was essentially a survival phase to pursuing growth opportunities.
Key points to remember
- 88% of manufacturers reported difficulty finding and retaining workers and 41% see labor shortage as the main obstacle to growth
- 44% expect their workforce to increase in the next six months, a jump of 24 points from last year
- Almost two-thirds (64%) of manufacturers reported profits in 2020, up from 76% in 2019
- Seventy percent expect 2021 to be profitable, with only 10% forecasted losses
- More than half (53%) see their businesses grow, up from 18% last year, while only 12% anticipate a contraction
- Forty percent expect Connecticut’s economy to grow (up from just 10% last year) and 58% expect national growth (32%)
- 58% of employers say at least 75% of their employees are fully immunized
- 87% of manufacturers requested a federal paycheck protection program loan and 14% other loans or grants from the US Small Business Administration
“It is clear from this report that Connecticut manufacturers are optimistic about the future, although their optimism is cautious as our recovery faces many challenges,” said President and CEO from the CBIA, Chris DiPentima.
“And there is no greater challenge than the labor shortage – despite thousands of job vacancies, the manufacturing sector has only recovered 38% of COVID-related job losses , well below the state’s recovery rate.
“How do you get people back into the manufacturing workforce? The jobs are there and it is clear that we need a more aggressive approach to address this problem.
“Lawmakers must continue to support policies that will help manufacturers, especially small and medium-sized manufacturers, recruit and retain employees. ”
The CBIA surveyed 858 senior manufacturing executives from August 4 to September 8 statewide. The survey had a response rate of 25% and a margin of error of +/- 3%.
Seventy percent of the manufacturers who responded to the survey employ less than 50 employees, while 84% have fewer than 100 employees.
The average age of the companies surveyed was 58 years, 90% of which had been in business for more than 20 years. Only three companies are less than 10 years old and 22 are over 100 years old.
CBIA is Connecticut’s largest trading organization, with thousands of member companies large and small, representing a wide range of industries from all parts of the state. For more information, please email or call Ali warshavsky (860.244.1929).