Released Monday by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, the reading came in at 51.6 going into the fourth quarter, above the critical mark of 50, though down from 53.6 in the third quarter.
A reading greater than 50 indicates positive expectations, while one lower than 50 indicates negative expectations.
“The fourth-quarter index marks a full year of cautious optimism among business leaders,” said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, who conducts the quarterly survey. “But at the same time, political and economic environments in the U.S., including the upcoming presidential election and the impending fiscal cliff, are posing challenges.”
Hiring expectations decreased from 53.7 in the third quarter to 51 in the fourth, while capital investment expectations measured 50.2, down from 52.6 last quarter.
Statewide, the strongest employment gains year-over-year in August were in the professional and business services sector, which added 9,500 jobs. Construction added 5,100 jobs and financial activities added 4,600. On the downside, the information sector lost 2,000 jobs.
The outlook for both the state and national economies appears positive going into the fourth quarter, and for the 30th consecutive quarter optimism for the local economy outstripped that for the national economy.
The index measuring expectations for the state economy remained almost unchanged at 56.3, down from 56.6 in the third quarter, reflecting general uneasiness and caution. While it remained in negative territory, the national index showed the only improvement for the quarter, rising from 46 to 46.8.
Business leaders’ sales expectations for the fourth quarter fell from 58.1 to 53.2, while expectations for profits decreased from 54.9 to 52.2.
To access the complete report visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/brd and click on the Leeds Business Confidence Index link on the left side of the page.