Business Profits Up in Springfield-Harford-New Haven Business Corridor

Business Profits Up in Springfield-Harford-New Haven Business Corridor
Hartford Courant, Octrober 19, 2017
By Pat Daddona

Businesses in New England's Knowledge Corridor experienced solid profitability in 2016, yet less than a third of owners surveyed this year believe the region's economy will improve in 2018.

The findings from the 2017 Hartford-New Haven-Springfield Business Survey are based on responses from 440 businesses.

Sixty-four percent of companies surveyed reported net profits -- a post-recession high, with 69 percent expecting a profitable 2018. Twenty-six percent of companies broke even in 2017 and 25 percent forecast holding steady in 2018, while 10 percent reported losses, with 6 percent predicting that for 2018.

Despite the growth, only 29 percent of surveyed businesses believe the region's economy will improve next year, with 38 percent forecasting stability and 33 percent expecting worsening conditions.

Over the next five years, businesses are split on a favorable forecast, with 46 percent optimistic about the region's economy, 44 percent pessimistic and 10 percent with no opinion.

Economic growth back to top

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association and the New England Knowledge Corridor, an interstate partnership that promotes economic growth in region's named metro areas, conducted the annual survey.

Comprising Hartford, Tolland, New Haven, and Middlesex counties in Connecticut, and Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties in Massachusetts, the Knowledge Corridor's combined gross domestic product exceeded $161 billion in 2016.

Barriers to growth include high taxes (28 percent); a weak economy (24 percent); shortage of labor (21 percent); regulatory climate (9 percent ); infrastructure issues (7 percent); cost of energy (3 percent); and real estate availability (2 percent).

Transportation also remains a concern for regional businesses.

Sixty-six percent of the I-91's corridor's business leaders say traffic congestion and poor and deteriorating infrastructure are the most pressing transportation issues facing the region. Twenty-one percent cited the lack of mass transit options. Both findings are unchanged from 2015.

But 77 percent say they use Bradley International Airport, compared with the 40 percent who fly out of out of New York City airports and the 36 percent who use Boston Logan International Airport.