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July 18, 2019

Survey: CT residents downbeat on future; record number plan to leave

PHOTO | FLICKR VIA TIM HAGEN A record number of Connecticut residents say they plan to leave the state in the next five years, according to InformCT.

Connecticut residents are growing pessimistic about the state’s living conditions, a new survey found.

That was just one of the many findings in a new InformCT survey conducted by a nonpartisan research group of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center Inc. (CERC).

The survey, administered at the end of the second quarter in late June, shows a steady decline in the percentage of residents who believe Connecticut is a “good place to live and raise a family.”

Only 44 percent of the 505 state residents in the survey agreed with that statement, down from 47 percent in the first quarter this year and 55 percent in the second quarter of 2018. It was also the lowest percentage since the survey started in the first quarter of 2015.

A record percent of respondents (47 percent) also said they will likely leave the state within the next five years, tying a mark previously set in the fourth quarter of 2018.

But residents are still growing optimistic about the state’s economy and their personal finances.

A record 35 percent of residents said their personal finances are better off today than they were six months ago, as opposed to 23 percent who reported they feel they’re worse off.

Those percentages have flipped compared to InformCT’s last survey three months ago, when 33 percent said they were worse off financially, and 26 percent said they were in better financial standing.

Addressing workforce gaps

Nutmeggers also said they would rather have the state prioritize short-term job training than expand primary and secondary education to fill workforce shortages.

Almost half of respondents chose short-term training and skills development and certificate programs as their “preferred option” to grow the state’s workforce.

That was the unanimous top choice for residents in each employment status category, including retirees, part- and full-time workers, those unemployed and seeking work and others unemployed and not currently looking for a job.

The survey said the highest percentage that preferred expanding K-12 and college offerings was 39 percent of part-time workers. 
Beefing up the state’s efforts to lure more out-of-state workers drew even more pessimism. Less than 20 percent in three of the five employment categories said they preferred actions to attract those workers.

In total, Alissa DeJonge, CERC’s vice president of research, said InformCT’s latest survey drew mixed results from what she called an “uneasy” population.

“They have a definite preference of how the state should help fill jobs that may be coming, and their own personal financial situation is looking up,” DeJonge said. “But they’re less sure of the state’s economic prospects and whether they’ll stick around, even as they say the job picture has brightened.” 

The margin of error in the survey is 4 percent.

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