Economy & Economic Development  January 3, 2024

Biz leaders confidence up as recession fears wane

BOULDER — Colorado business leaders are feeling more optimistic about the economy and less worried about an impending recession, a recent University of Colorado survey shows. 

The Leeds Business Confidence Index for the first quarter of 2024 was up nearly two points from the last period of 2023 and reflects the most optimism since 2022. 

The index figure heading into the first quarter was 45.3. An LBCI score — which is based on impressions of the state economy, national economy, industry sales, industry profits, industry hiring and capital expenditures — of 50 is neutral. 

“Optimism for the state economy continues to increase, reaching its highest level since 2022,” CU economists said in their quarterly confidence report. “There is less consensus on reasons for the outlook, but fears of a recession are no longer prevalent.”

Many of the 196 business leaders who responded to CU’s survey conducted from Dec. 1, 2023, through Dec. 20, 2023, pointed to high interest rates and continued inflation as nagging concerns heading into the new year.

 “There has been a noticeable shift in the way respondents described the reasons for their sentiment,” Brian Lewandowski, executive director of CU’s Business Research Division, said in a prepared statement. “Many people were less targeted in their responses, and while inflation and interest rates were still noted by some as economic headwinds, others expressed optimism about improving prices and rates.”

Looking beyond the first quarter, optimism increased for Colorado business leaders. The LBCI for the second quarter of 2024 was 49.6, still mildly pessimistic but much more positive than recent index scores from 2023. 

“Compared to previous quarters, comments about a recession made up only 5% of answers, with some of those answers focused on decreased fear of a recession,” the report said.

BOULDER — Colorado business leaders are feeling more optimistic about the economy and less worried about an impending recession, a recent University of Colorado survey shows. 

The Leeds Business Confidence Index for the first quarter of 2024 was up nearly two points from the last period of 2023 and reflects the most optimism since 2022. 

The index figure heading into the first quarter was 45.3. An LBCI score — which is based on impressions of the state economy, national economy, industry sales, industry profits, industry hiring and capital expenditures — of 50 is neutral. 

“Optimism for the state economy continues to increase, reaching…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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