Connecticut employers more bullish on hiring in 2018

A new survey released Thursday by the state’s largest business advocacy organization indicatesan increasing number of Connecticut companies are optimistic about their ability to add workers in 2018.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s 2017 Fourth Quarter Economic and Credit Availability survey found that 28 percent of Connecticut businesses that responded expect to increase the number of people working for them. That represents a 7 percent increase in the number of businesses that said they expected to add workers in the third-quarter survey.

Of the company executives that responded to the survey, which was conducted last month, 54 percent said their hiring levels will remain stable this year.

The news of increased optimism regarding overall hiring was tempered with the findings thatskilled workers remain a challenge in the state’s manufacturing sector.

Pete Gioia, CBIA’s economist, said 62 percent of Connecticut manufacturers expect to add workers in 2018. Nearly two-thirds of respondents hired at least one new employee in the 90 days prior to completing the survey, Gioia said.

“However, while 64 percent hired someone in the past three months and 60 percent plan to hire someone in the next three months, 48 percent of those trying to hire couldn’t fill all their open positions,” he said in a statement. “Companies want to hire more. While we heard again about unfilled manufacturing jobs, we also heard up to 80 different job titles that were yet to be filled.”

Gioia said state officials need to respond to the manufacturing worker shortage by stepping up workforce development efforts.

The most in-demand jobs across all industry sectors, according to the survey findings, included truck drivers, sales staff, chemists, toolmakers, supervisors, butchers, veterinary assistants, estimators, customer service staff, welders, foremen, engineers and machinists.