Connecticut’s manufacturers have a lot more confidence in the future of their companies, according to a new survey. But they're more cautious about the future of the state.
The study, carried out by the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut, showed only a modest uptick in confidence in the state’s economy. But more than 70 percent of the businesses surveyed said they expect to see better sales this year.
And while they are looking to hire, there’s one big problem. Frank Johnson of the Manufacturing Alliance says the overwhelming majority of companies are struggling to find skilled workers.
"They're constantly looking for new customers for their existing products, they're looking for new markets," Johnson said, "But if they can't find the qualified help to turn the product out then it becomes an impediment to their ability to grow here."
He said he welcomes state initiatives at community colleges and technical schools to increase the flow of new workers into manufacturing companies, but it isn't yet enough.
"There are efforts being made by very good and sincere people," Johnson said. "It's still kind of heart-breaking to know that these jobs that [can] pay $70,000 a year are going unfilled."
It's the second year the survey has been conducted.