Colorado business leaders are more optimistic heading into the second quarter with more upbeat expectations for the economy, sales and hiring, according to the latest results of a statewide survey.
“While both the state and national economies are on stable ground, business leaders are more optimistic about Colorado. I think they see the numbers of people moving to the state. They see employment continue to grow at a good pace and they are very optimistic about sales and profitability,” said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the business research division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The Leeds Business Confidence Index climbed to 63.4 for the second quarter, up 3.1 points from the first quarter and eight points from the second quarter of 2016.
The Leeds School of Business bases the index on the results of a survey of business leaders from across the state and a variety of industries. Readings above 50 reflect positive expectations. For the second quarter of 2017, readings increased and topped 50 in each of six metrics the index tracks. The overall reading of the index has remained above 50 for 23 consecutive quarters.
For the second quarter of 2017, confidence in the state economy rose 4.2 points to 67 with nearly 69 percent of business leaders responding to the survey expecting moderate or strong increases in the economy.
Confidence in the national economy rose 2.6 points to 63.9 with almost 64 percent of business leaders anticipating moderate or strong increases.
The reading for sales in Colorado rose 4.5 points to 64.3 with 63 percent of leaders forecasting moderate or strong increases.
The reading for profits rose 3.4 points to 62.8 with 58.2 percent of leaders expecting moderate or strong increases.
The reading for hiring rose 2.2 points to 61.7. While 50.6 percent of business leaders reported expectations for moderate or strong increases, 41 percent said they anticipated no change and 8.5 percent forecasting moderate or strong decreases.
The reading for capital expenditures rose 1.9 points to 61. While 51.6 percent of leaders said they expect moderate or strong increases in spending, 37 percent forecast no change and 11.3 percent said they anticipated moderate or strong decreases.
The one concern for Colorado could be the growing disparity between inflation and wages, Wobbekind said. “Either we are going to have a cooling of inflation in the state or we’re going to have to have wages go up more rapidly in order to keep the workers on an even keel.”