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July 6, 2016

Survey finds CT small businesses hiring, expanding

CBIA finds small businesses are hiring and expanding. HBJ File Photo A new CBIA finds small businesses are hiring and expanding.

Sixty percent of Connecticut businesses with 500 or fewer employees reported that they’re hiring in 2016, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s 2016 Survey of Small Businesses also found that about half of respondents expect to remain stable, 38 percent anticipate growth, and 13 percent expect to contract. It was the first time the survey was conducted.

Of those who are hiring, 59 percent are adding fewer than four new workers; 27 percent are bringing on four to 10 new employees; 8 percent are hiring 11 to 20; and 6 percent will add more than 20 employees.

The top three challenges noted by respondents were:

  1. profitability and growth (31 percent);
  2. government regulations, mandates, and other policy decisions (21 percent); and,
  3. the cost of doing business/taxes (20 percent).

Respondents also noted being concerned about the state’s business climate as 69 percent of small businesses surveyed said they were not confident their elected officials would act consistently and predictably on legislation affecting business over the next three to five years; another 19 percent were not sure.

Other key findings:

  • The personal income tax is the single biggest tax challenge for small businesses, followed by the corporate tax and property taxes. Many small businesses also noted the number of taxes.
  • Labor regulations are overwhelmingly the most problematic for Connecticut’s small businesses.
  • The majority of businesses (65 percent) say their company brand has benefited from social media.
  • Over the past year, 79 percent have increased cybersecurity.
  • Highly trained staff are considered the greatest technological asset among most companies; a shortage of knowledgeable staff was also identified as the biggest tech challenge.

CBIA’s 2016 Survey of Small Businesses was emailed and mailed in March and April 2016 to top executives at approximately 3,800 small businesses throughout Connecticut. Most are long-time Connecticut companies, averaging 40 years in business. Four percent have been in business more than a century.

There were 232 questionnaires returned, for a response rate of 6.1 percent and a margin of error of +/– 6.6 percent. Almost a third of the respondents were from the manufacturing sector.

The business group said it will use the data collected to develop programs and services and lobbying for public policies that benefit small businesses.

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