Report: CT manufacturing climate receives “C” grade

BY Joe Cooper

Photo | HBJ File
Photo | HBJ File
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (left) during during a 2016 tour of GKN Aerospace's Newington plant.
Connecticut's manufacturing climate is average, according to a new report.

The manufacturing and logistics report by Conexus Indiana and the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research downgraded Connecticut's manufacturing climate score from last year's "C+" rating to a "C."

The annual report is meant to assist manufacturers and logistics firms with site selection decisions. States with high marks are considered the most desirable for industry.

The report evaluates states by several measures including logistics industry health, investments, worker benefits costs, tax climate, expected liability gap and global reach, among others.

Across nine ranking factors, Connecticut fell in three, improved in two, and was flat in four.

The state declined in "productivity and innovation" from a "B+" to "B" and liability gap from "D to "D-," the report said. Data used for that category included productivity growth, and R&D and patent expenditures per capita.

But there were bright spots for Connecticut, which has seen its manufacturing employment rise of late.

Connecticut producers upped their global position from "B" to "B+" and "D-" to "D" in diversification. The state recorded flat grades of "B-," "C-" and "D" in human capital, benefits costs, and logistics and tax climate, respectively.

The manufacturing industry in all Northeast states, excluding New Hampshire, scored a "C" or worse, according to the report. Meanwhile, production sectors in South Carolina, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa and Indiana again received the nation's highest "A" grade.

The annual report, known as the Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card, began tracking manufacturing performance history in 2009, comparing advanced manufacturing and logistics health among U.S. states.

Read the full report here.

Meantime, Connecticut lawmakers are trying offer tax credits to small manufacturers to boost workforce development.

As previously reported, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last week vetoed a bill that would have extended Connecticut's manufacturing apprenticeship tax credit.

The legislation, Senate Bill 261, would have granted small- and mid-sized manufacturers access to a tax credit available to larger companies that train apprentices.

The governor said the expansion would create a revenue shortfall of $650,000 unaccounted for in the bipartisan state budget.

But state leaders pushback following Malloy's veto, arguing the state budget provides plenty of leg room with a $1.8 million surplus.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, urged the caucus to override the governor's action when they reconvenes in the coming weeks. The House and Senate would need a two-thirds vote to overturn the governor's veto.