Most of Connecticut’s small businesses are hiring this year, according to the Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s first-ever survey of employers with 500 or fewer employees.

Sixty percent of small businesses statewide have hired or plan to hire workers this year, according to CBIA’s 2016 Survey of Small Businesses.

Of those hiring, 59 percent are adding fewer than four workers, 27 percent are hiring four to 10 workers, 8 percent are hiring 11 to 20 new employees, and 6 percent plan to add more than 20 employees, the survey found.

Small businesses are a major economic driver in Connecticut and statewide, according to CBIA economist Pete Gioia.

“They are vital to communities, and are the backbone of our economy,” he said in a statement. “This survey allows us to better understand what taxes, legislation, and issues concern them and how to correct it.”

The survey marks the first time CBIA has exclusively polled small-business owners, many of whom run family owned and operated companies.

The effort, according to CBIA, is intended to give the advocacy group a better understanding of small businesses’ needs in the state. Small businesses comprise the bulk of CBIA’s membership and participants in the survey represented varied industries: utilities, retail, construction, nonprofits, software, medical, finance, and hospitality, among others.

The survey was emailed to top executives at about 3,800 small companies statewide in March and April, garnering responses from 232 business leaders.

When asked to name their top challenge, the largest share — 31 percent — said profitability and growth; while 21 percent said government regulation, mandates, and other policies; and 20 cited the cost of doing business.

Most respondents, or 69 percent, said they lack confidence that elected officials will act “consistently and predictably” on legislation affecting business over the next three to five years.

Most, however, are being proactive when it comes to approaching legislators. Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, said they or their employees had communicated with state lawmakers over the past year about their company’s challenges and needs, the survey found.

When it comes to taxes, the personal income tax is small businesses’ biggest challenge, according to the survey, followed by the corporate tax and property taxes. Labor-related regulations are the most worrisome regulations, business leaders said.