HARTFORD, CT — A recent survey of 505 Connecticut residents found that respondents increasingly believe the overall business conditions in Connecticut are worsening, and nearly half expect that conditions will be about the same six months from now.
The third quarter consumer confidence survey from InformCT found 51 percent of those surveyed don’t believe Connecticut’s economy is improving. That’s a slightly less pessimistic view than during the previous quarter when 55 percent felt economic conditions were worsening.
Since then the state passed a two-year, $41.3 billion state budget, but it has not released any bonding for capital projects since the summer when the budget stalemate began. That’s slowed certain sectors of the economy like construction.
The survey found that the percentage of residents who believe that “there are plenty of jobs for anyone who wants to work” has reached the highest level in nearly three years, although a majority continue to believe that there are some jobs, but not enough.
According to the survey, residents do not expect the jobs picture to change much during the next six months. More than half, 58 percent, expect the employment situation in Connecticut to stay the same during that time.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released data showing Connecticut lost 6,600 jobs in October and only gained 300 in September. That means the state has lost jobs in three out of the past four months.
Looking ahead, there is relatively little optimism among those surveyed.
Nearly half of state residents, 49 percent, believe that business conditions will remain the same over the next six months. For the second consecutive quarter, only 23 percent believe conditions will improve, the lowest percentage since the quarterly surveys began. The latest survey found that 28 percent say business conditions will worsen, a slightly smaller percentage than the 33 percent in the previous quarter.
In terms of their personal finances, 29 percent say they’re worse off; 28 percent say they’re better off. There is more optimism looking ahead, however, with 40 percent expecting they will be better off, and 16 percent expecting their own financial situation to worsen. An identical 44 percent said their personal finances are about the same as six months ago, and they expect they will continue to remain the same over the next six months.
According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis the average personal income in Connecticut was $69,311 in 2016, which is up about 1 percent from $68,329 the previous year.
Consumer confidence is somewhat mixed. The survey found 18 percent planned to refinance or purchase a new home in the next six months, while 42 percent expect to make a “major consumer expenditure for furniture or some other product,” which is the second highest percentage the survey has seen.
The survey has a 4 percent margin of error.