There was a time, probably not all that long ago, when positive news about consumer confidence in Connecticut would have been taken for granted and not been seen as all that big a deal. But these days are different. The state has endured year after year of budget deficits, with a General Assembly often unable to meet the task of coming up with a state budget in a timely manner and infrastructure woefully in need of upkeep.
So these days we tend to take good news about the Nutmeg State like a thirsty person grabbing at a drink of water, and remind ourselves that even though it’s a shame that we have to be reminded of the fact, that Connecticut remains a great place: A great place to live, a great place to do business.
And there’s evidence that this is a widening perception. A recent survey by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, a nonprofit think-tank based in Rocky Hill, finds state consumers are more optimistic about the state economy than they’ve been since early 2016. A survey of 505 residents, taken in late June, shows 77 percent believing business conditions are better or the same than they were six months ago. About the same percentage feel that’s going to keep going, with conditions expected to be the same or better six months from now.
Though it’s probably best to take such enthusiasm with a grain of salt, our thirst for a more positive outlook gladly takes in the following observation made by Chris McClure, a spokesman for the budget office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy:
“This is a great state. It is a tremendous place to start and raise a family, to put your ideas to the test by opening up a small business or to run a major operation like the 17 Fortune 500 companies headquartered here, and to advance a career within one of the various cutting-edge companies located within our borders.”
McClure’s quote continues with criticism of the “downbeat rhetoric” he says “residents of our state are not going to be fooled by.”
There is, of course, plenty of reason for that “downbeat rhetoric,” as in plenty to worry about when it comes to the future of Connecticut. But there’s reason for encouragement when, as the survey found, 55 percent of the state’s residents describe it as a good place to live and raise a family (up from 49 percent earlier this year).
Connecticut still has a long way to go, but consumer confidence helps bolster the hope that it can get there.