Colorado business confidence inches higher going into third quarter, says CU-Boulder Leeds School

July 2, 2014 •

The confidence of Colorado business leaders remains positive and has slightly increased going into the third quarter of 2014, according to the most recent Leeds Business Confidence Index, or LBCI, released today by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

The third quarter LBCI posted a reading of 61.2, an increase from 61 last quarter.

While both large and small employers were notably positive heading into the new quarter, large employers (with 50 or more employees) expressed greater optimism with an index of 64 compared to 58.8 for small employers.

Expectations measured positive -- at 50 or higher -- for all of the metrics within the index, which include the national economy, state economy, industry sales, industry profits, capital expenditures and hiring plans.

“Business leaders’ reaffirmed confidence heading into the third quarter despite a dismal quarter one GDP report,” said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, which conducts the LBCI. “Panelists’ perceptions of the state economy outperforming the national economy are in fact grounded in the reality that the state economy is one of the best economies in the nation.”

The across-the-board positive standings represent 11 consecutive quarters of positive expectations, according to the LBCI -- a report that’s now in its 11th year.

“Increased confidence coincides with increasing home prices, employment gains, rebounding household income and falling foreclosure rates,” said Wobbekind.

Confidence in capital expenditures saw the greatest gain of 1 point to 59.6, up from 58.6 last quarter. Confidence in the state economy slipped to 65.9, down from 66.7 last quarter -- the greatest decrease in the report.

Still, confidence in the state economy outpaces confidence in the national economy -- a 37-quarter trend in the LBCI -- which held steady at 57.5 from the second quarter to the third quarter.

The sales index measured 63.4 going into the third quarter, up from 62.7 in the second quarter. Confidence in profits was virtually flat at 61.2, down from 61.3 last quarter.

Though hiring expectations also were virtually flat at 59.5, down from 59.6 last quarter, employment in Colorado has recorded 43 months of year-over-year growth.

While Colorado employment figures vary greatly by industry, labor markets in all of the state’s metropolitan areas saw growth in May compared with a year earlier. The top three areas showing growth are the Greeley (+5.3 percent), Boulder (+3.2 percent) and Fort Collins-Loveland (+2.9 percent each) Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or MSAs.

Employment growth also was recorded in the following MSAs: Denver-Aurora-Broomfield (+2.8 percent), Pueblo (+1.5 percent), Grand Junction (+1.3 percent) and Colorado Springs (+0.4 percent). The Colorado Springs and Grand Junction MSA are the only two areas that have not regained prerecession employment levels in Colorado.

Statewide, the biggest employment gains in May compared with the same month last year were in the construction, leisure and hospitality, and mining and logging industries.

For more information about the Leeds School’s Business Research Division and the third-quarter report for 2014 visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/brd.

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