CU report: Business confidence down in Colorado

BOULDER — Colorado business confidence plunged heading into the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a recent report for the University of Colorado’s Leeds Business Research Division.

The Leeds Business Confidence Index — a measurement of optimism on the state economy, the national economy, industry sales, industry profits, industry hiring and capital expenditures — recorded the seventh-largest drop since the index started 15 years ago.

The index fell from 59.6 in the second quarter of 2018 to 54.6 in the third quarter.

“There has been a lot of conjecture about the national economy in 2019, and then further in 2020,” Leeds Business Research Division executive director Rich Wobbekind said in a prepared statement. “Perhaps they’re looking at higher interest rates. The uncertainty in the U.S. economy is out there.”

The lack of optimism about the economy comes despite the fact that economic indicators including jobs, real gross domestic product and personal income remain positive.

The Leeds Business Research Division report suggests the upcoming election is weighing heavily on the minds of Colorado business leaders. The confidence index last measured a major drop in the fourth quarter of 2016, though confidence bounced back quickly afterward.

“Political uncertainty tends to affect the confidence. It has in the past,” Wobbekind said.