Colorado business leaders expect state economy to stop outperforming the nation

Business leaders expect that our days outpacing the nation could be coming to an end, according to a new report from the University of Colorado Boulder.

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A member of the Downtown Denver BID's Clean Team at work on the 16th Street Mall, Nov. 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  16th street mall; denver; colorado; central business district; denverite; kevinjbeaty; purple shirt; downtown denver partnership;

A member of the Downtown Denver BID's Clean Team at work on the 16th Street Mall, Nov. 29, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado spent the last few years outshining its peer states and posting better economic returns and lower unemployment rates than the country overall.

Business leaders expect that our days outpacing the nation could be coming to an end. Overall, the executives, bosses and owners are fairly optimistic going into the first half of 2018,  according to a new report from the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Leeds Business Confidence Index measures Colorado business leaders’ expectations for the national economy, state economy, industry sales, profits, hiring plans and capital expenditures. For the latest report, CU surveyed 240 panelists.

Confidence in the state economy was the only measure that recorded a (modest) decline. Ahead of the first quarter of 2018, confidence in the state and national economies were equal at 58.2. It’s the first time the measures converged since 2005, prior to the Great Recession.

“While Colorado is expected to outpace the nation in economic growth in 2018, this demonstrates the view that the state is on a slower growth path compared to the recent past. As well, this survey period overlapped the tax bill vote, which may have boosted expectations for national economic growth,” the report states.

The overall index for the six measures is 59.5 — up from 56.5 going into the end of the year.

The quarterly index measures confidence on a scale from zero to 100, anything above the 50 mark is generally thought to be positive.

LBCI’s positive standing is consistent with Colorado’s continued employment growth, real gross domestic product (GDP) expansion, rising personal incomes and other macroeconomic indicators. And so far businesses are seeing minimal impact from minimum wage increases and the move toward automation, according to CU.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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