Survey: Colorado business leaders remain confident

BOULDER – The confidence of Colorado business leaders remains positive for the 10th consecutive quarter and has increased slightly going into the second quarter of 2014, according to the Leeds Business Confidence Index released Tuesday by the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

The index is based on survey responses from business leaders throughout the state. For the second quarter, it has a reading of 61, an increase from 59.9 last quarter. A reading of 50 or more is considered positive. Expectations measured were positive for all the metrics measured by the index, which include the national economy, state economy, industry sales, industry profits, capital expenditures and hiring plans.

“Increased confidence comes on the heels of an improving labor market and sustained economic growth,´ said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division. “Coupled with the data we examine from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, we expect further employment growth in 2014 reaching record levels.”

Confidence in profits registered the greatest gain of 3.4 points to 61.3, up from 57.9 last quarter. The sales index measured 62.7 for the second quarter, up from 61.2 last quarter.

While remaining in positive territory, the only metric that fell slightly going into the second quarter of 2014 was capital expenditures. It came in at 58.6, down from 59 last quarter. Hiring expectations increased to 59.6, up from 59.3.

Confidence in the state economy increased to 66.7, up from 64.8 last quarter. It outpaces confidence in the national economy – a 36-quarter trend in the index – which is nearly flat at 57.5, up from 57.4 last quarter.

While Colorado employment figures vary greatly by industry, labor markets in all of the state’s metropolitan areas saw growth in January compared with a year earlier. The top four areas showing growth are the Greeley Metropolitan Statistical Area, up 6.3 percent, the Fort Collins-Loveland MSA, up 2.8 percent, and the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield and Boulder MSAs, each up 2.5 percent.

Statewide, the biggest employment gains in January compared with the same month last year were in leisure and hospitality services, education and health services, and construction industries.

For more information about the second-quarter report for 2014 visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/brd#overview.

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