Published: Oct. 3, 2018 By

Key takeaways
  • Colorado business confidence dropped sharply ahead of the fourth quarter.
  • All Leeds Business Confidence Index Components remain positive for Q4.
  • Panelists appear most concerned about the national economy.
  • Learn more about the Business Research Division.

Colorado business optimism dropped sharply heading into the last three months of 2018, according to the latest Leeds Business Confidence Index (LBCI). That marks the seventh-largest drop since the Leeds Business Research Division at CU Boulder started the index more than 15 years ago.

The LBCI measures Colorado business leaders’ optimism on the state economy, the national economy, industry sales, industry profits, industry hiring and capital expenditures.

All of those components remain positive in the fourth quarter (above 50 on the index), though business optimism dropped for all six in the fourth quarter, and fell further looking to the first quarter of 2019.

“There has been a lot of conjecture about the national economy in 2019, and then further in 2020,” said Leeds Business Research Division Executive Director Rich Wobbekind. “Perhaps they’re looking at higher interest rates. The uncertainty in the U.S. economy is out there.”

Koelbel Building

The national economy marked the softest part of the index, dipping into negative territory (below 50) looking ahead to 2019.

State expectations marked the largest decline (8.1 points). The Colorado economy remains strong, however, with jobs, real gross domestic product and personal income all on the rise. The LBCI reflects that with the state number still well into positive territory.

The mix between positive economic numbers and lower business confidence could be due to election season. 

“Political uncertainty tends to affect the confidence. It has in the past,” Wobbekind said. He noted the last big drop was in the fourth quarter of 2016, though confidence bounced back quickly afterward.

Read the complete report through the Leeds Business Research Division.