Business optimism was revised down for the fourth quarter from 51 to 47.9, signaling a more bearish reality as the economy moves into the final quarter of the year. Nonetheless, after falling to a historic low earlier in the year, Colorado business leaders’ confidence did continue to mark improvement ahead of Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. A plurality of panelists (39%) continued to cite COVID-19 as the main driver for their pessimistic outlook, but the election was also cited by one in five panelists. Some responses struck tones of optimism with 19% of individuals citing resiliency and pent-up demand. While Q4 confidence remained below neutral, the Q1 2021 outlook rose moderately above neutral.
The Leeds Business Confidence Index (LBCI) captures Colorado business leaders’ expectations for the national economy, state economy, industry sales, profits, hiring plans, and capital expenditures. Ahead of Q4 2020, the index increased 3.6 points to 47.9, with 5 of the 6 components of the index below neutral (50). Signaling further improvement in the first quarter of 2021, the index rebounded to 56, firmly crossing the neutral threshold. A total of 412 qualified panelists responded to the survey from September 1 through September 21.