Businesses in Connecticut offered a grim assessment of conditions for the remainder of the year and early 2021 due to the coronavirus, according to a survey released Thursday by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
One-fourth of firms surveyed by the state’s largest business organization expect sales to grow in the next 12 months.
More than two-thirds of respondents said they foresee a drop in orders and sales this year because of COVID-19 disruptions and fewer than half expect a return to profit this year. The CBIA called that a “historic low” in its annual survey.
Most firms expect their employment to remain stable over the next six months, with 20% forecasting growth and 20% expecting a decline.
Only 12% expect the Connecticut economy to expand next year, with 30% forecasting growth in the U.S. economy.
And more than half of businesses surveyed said they cut hours, laid off or furloughed employees in response to the coronavirus.
Small businesses are “clearly struggling to get back on their feet as a result of the pandemic,” CBIA President Chris DiPentima said. “While Connecticut is recovering better than most states, this survey clearly illustrates there’s a lot at risk with our economy."
Gov. Ned Lamont, asked at a news briefing at the Capitol about the survey, said the business community "knows we’re still in a COVID economy and they’re somewhat hesitant.”
He defended his policies that shut businesses in March at the start of the pandemic and authorized a gradual reboot that began in May.
“We’ve done everything we could to allow businesses to reopen safely," Lamont said. "We never closed down manufacturing. We never closed down outdoor construction. We opened starting May 20 in a very methodical way. But the economy will never come back if public health is not front and center.”
CBIA said it mailed and emailed the survey from July 8 through July 29 to more than 6,600 top executives in the state. It said 962 business leaders participated and it reported a response rate of 14.5% and a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.
Most surveyed firms are small businesses, with 82% employing fewer than 50 workers, CBIA said.
Stephen Singer can be reached at email@example.com.
©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.