The confidence of Colorado business leaders again dipped slightly going into the fourth quarter of 2015, but remains in positive territory, according to the Leeds Business Confidence Index released today by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
With an overall reading of 53.5, compared with 58.3 ahead of last quarter, the fall marks two consecutive quarters of a decrease in optimism.
Still, expectations measured positive -- at 50 or higher -- for all of the state metrics within the index, which include the state economy, industry sales, industry profits, capital expenditures and hiring plans. The good standings for the state represent 16 consecutive quarters of positive expectations, according to the index.
“We’ve recorded the second quarter in a row of downward movement,” said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, which conducts the index. “We’re still in positive territory, and this is important to note -- still above 50, still expansionary.”
While the greatest optimism among the metrics was in the state economy, this particular metric has seen declining confidence for the past three quarters. Meanwhile, confidence in the national economy dipped into negative territory for the first time since the first quarter of 2013.
Sector by sector highlights:
--State economy expectations fell from 61.2 in the third quarter of 2015 to 57.2 heading into the fourth quarter.
--National economy confidence fell the most -- by seven points into negative territory at 48.4, down from 55.4 last quarter.
--Sales expectations fell from 59.8 to 55.6 going into the fourth quarter.
--Profits expectations saw a 4.9-point decrease to 53.6, down from 58.5 going into the third quarter.
--Capital expenditures dropped 4.5 points to 53.1 going into the fourth quarter, down from 57.5 last quarter.
--Hiring expectations slid 4.2 points, going from 57.3 last quarter to 53.1 this quarter.
Colorado’s unemployment level decreased from the previous month to 4.2 percent in August 2015. This compares with a national unemployment rate of 5.1 percent.
Year-over-year employment growth was recorded in all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) of the state with Greeley (+4.5 percent) seeing the biggest increase. Greeley is followed by the Fort Collins-Loveland (+2.7 percent) and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (+2.4 percent) MSAs.
Employment growth also was recorded in the Grand Junction (+1.3 percent), Boulder (+1 percent), Colorado Springs (+1 percent) and Pueblo (+.7 percent) MSAs.
Statewide, the biggest employment gains in August compared with the same month in 2014 were in the construction, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors.
“We’re seeing an unemployment rate nationally and especially in Colorado that’s well within the realm of approaching full employment,” said Wobbekind. “But with the current volatility of the market, we’re experiencing consumers not being willing to spend as much because of the decline in their wealth. The recessionary effects of six years ago seem to remain on everybody’s mind, be it business owners or consumers.”
For more information about the Leeds School’s Business Research Division and the fourth quarter report visit http://www.colorado.edu/business/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