The confidence of Colorado business leaders dipped slightly though remained optimistic going into the third quarter of 2015, according to the Leeds Business Confidence Index released today by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
The fall to an overall reading of 58.3, down from 61.7 going into the second quarter of 2015, marks the index’s biggest decrease since the second quarter of 2013.
Still, 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. The favorable standings represent 15 consecutive quarters of positive expectations, according to the index.
“While the index is still comfortably positive heading into quarter three, business leaders expressed some hesitation,” said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, which conducts the index. “Potential headwinds bringing down expectations in Colorado may include the production impact of lower oil prices, relatively high cost of housing, tight labor market and macroeconomic factors impacting exports.”
--Profits expectations at 58.5 saw one of the smallest dips in confidence going into the third quarter. They were down from 60.7 going into the second quarter.
--Optimism in the state economy stepped back nearly 2.1 points at 61.2, down from 63.2 last quarter.
--Confidence in the national economy fell the most -- by five points to 55.4, down from 60.4 last quarter.
--Sales expectations fell from 64.3 to 59.8 going into the current quarter.
--Hiring expectations this quarter fell 4.8 points from last quarter, going from 62.1 to 57.3.
--Capital expenditures dropped to 57.5, down from 59.3 going into the second quarter.
Colorado’s unemployment level increased from the previous month to 4.3 percent in May 2015. This compares with a national unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in May 2015.
Year-over-year employment growth was recorded in all but one Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of the state with Greeley (+5.1 percent) seeing the biggest increase. Greeley is followed by the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield (+3 percent) and Fort Collins-Loveland (+2.4 percent) MSAs.
Employment growth also was recorded in the Boulder (+1.8 percent), Colorado Springs (+1.6 percent) and Grand Junction (+1.5 percent) MSAs. Pueblo’s employment dropped 0.1 percent.
Statewide, the biggest employment gains in May compared with the same month in 2014 were in the construction, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors.
For more information about the Leeds School’s Business Research Division and the third quarter report visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/brd.
Richard Wobbekind, Leeds School of Business, 303-492-1147
Brian Lewandowski, Leeds School of Business, 303-492-3307
Elizabeth Lock, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3117