Colorado business leaders’ optimism slips for 2nd half of 2018

BOULDER — The latest Leeds Business Confidence Index report shows Colorado business leaders are losing some of their optimism about the economy.

The report, released by the Leeds Business Research Division, shows that while feelings are positive, optimism has slipped regarding the national economy, industry sales, industry profits, industry hiring and capital expenditures looking at the third and fourth quarters of 2018.

However, when it comes to the Colorado economy, those polled feel more positive. It marks the third consecutive quarter of LBCI growth at the state level.

“The most recent data for Colorado, May over May, has 2.7 percent employment growth. So very strong growth and the survey reflects that,” said BRD Executive Director Richard Wobbekind in a prepared statement. “Business leaders are seeing the strength of the economy, the growth in personal income, the growth in state output and they are reflecting that going forward.”

The index measures the optimism of Colorado business leaders against six categories: the state economy, the national economy, industry sales, industry profits, industry hiring and capital expenditures.

Capital expenditures saw the sharpest drop, roughly 6 percent, with more panelists saying they expect a moderate decrease in spending in the third and fourth quarters.

“The less-bullish capital spending expectations could reflect some of the economic headwinds identified by panelists, including higher interest rates and trade concerns,” Wobbekind said.

Panelists cited affordable housing, labor shortages and trade policy as the top concerns they’re facing in the back half of 2018. Wobbekind said the largest concern might not be policy decision and rather the overall uncertainty.

“They really want those policies clarified so they can make a decision based on reality,” he said.