Colorado business leaders upbeat heading into second quarter

Colorado business leaders remain confident going into the second quarter, according to the latest results of a survey tracking their outlooks.

“People are not only evaluating the economy and saying ‘things look good,’ but they’re very confident quarter after quarter that their beliefs are very solid,” said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the business research division at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “This really bodes well for not only just the next quarter, but for the longer term.”

CU reported that its Leeds Business Confidence Index rose nearly a point to 61.7 heading into the second quarter.

The index is based on the results of quarterly surveys of more than 300 business leaders from across the state and a range of industry sectors. Readings above 50 indicate positive expectations for the coming quarter.

The index has remained above 50 for 14 straight quarters. Moreover, the index has varied less than a point from its average reading over the past eight quarters, a fraction of the nearly eight-point variation each quarter before that.

For the second quarter of 2015, readings topped 50 for each of the six metrics the index tracks.

The reading was highest for sales, rising more than two points to 64.3. Fully 62 percent of business leaders responding to the survey upon which the second quarter index was based expect a moderate to strong increase in sales over the next three months.

The reading for profits climbed almost two points to 60.7, with 54.2 percent of leaders anticipating moderate or strong increases.

Confidence in the Colorado economy dropped three points, but at 63.2 was still the second highest reading for the latest index results. At 56.1 percent, a majority of business leaders expect  moderate to strong growth in the state economy. Confidence in the United States economy edged up four-tenths of a point to 60.4.

Business leaders also expect hiring to increase, pushing up that reading nearly four points to 62.1. While 55.5 percent of leaders forecast a moderate to strong increase in hiring, 34.9 percent said they expect no change. Every metropolitan area in Colorado has reported employment growth over the past year, ranging from 8.2 percent in Greeley to 1.8 percent in Grand Junction.

The reading for capital expenditures edged down a tenth to 59.3, with 47.7 percent of leaders expecting a moderate to strong increase in spending and 41.1 percent anticipating no change.