Colorado Businesses Remain Cautiously Optimistic
A recent survey shines a light on the prevailing attitudes and concerns of the state's business owners.
A recent survey conducted by researchers from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado in Boulder shone a light on the prevailing attitudes and concerns of the state's business owners. While many expressed positive feelings around the state's economy and direction, some did report concerns related to broader issues on a national scale. The survey is of great interest to business leaders, policy makers and anyone who wants to stay up to date with the latest happenings in the state's economy.
"Colorado's economy has grown by leaps and bounds in a short amount of time."
The survey functions in tandem with Leeds' 2016 Business Economic Outlook . This report paints a picture of Colorado's economy over the last 45 years, and describes just how much has changed in this timeframe. The survey's authors noted that in 1970, the average annual income of a Coloradan was just over $6,500. Factoring in inflation, this amounted to nearly $41,000 . Today, the average income stands at more than $48,000.
While it seems modest, this is certainly a great improvement, and indicative of just how far the state has come. Much of Colorado's economy in 1970 was focused on manufacturing goods, with a full 20 percent of jobs related to manufacturing or production. Today, only about 1 percent of the state's economy is concentrated in this area, while services have exploded and diversified. As of the end of 2015, unemployment in the state was just 3.5 percent. The workforce in Colorado has also been getting smarter and more diverse. In 1970, just 37 percent of the labor force was female, compared to almost half today. While 15 percent of Coloradans had earned a college degree in 1970, that rate has more than doubled in 2015.
In the long term, Colorado's economy has grown leaps and bounds. It is perhaps with this growth in mind that the state's business leaders have agreed Colorado has a bright future ahead.
"While expectations remain positive for the next two quarters, expectations will slip slightly heading into the third quarter," Richard Wobblekind, executive director of the research division at the Leeds School of Business, said, according to The Business Times. "Heading into the third quarter, our panelists noted concerns about the pending election, energy prices and the global economy."
Confidence in Colorado
As of right now, the Leeds Business Confidence Index sits at 55.4. A number over 50 indicates a greater number of positive responses to the survey, which was conducted among more than 300 business leaders from around Colorado. The Business Times noted that the reading had been roughly positive for the last 18 quarters in a row, in line with impressive economic growth that the state has seen in the last four years. Although confidence in the state's economy fell by just two points, the index remained above the 50-point threshold at 57.3, indicating broadly positive views for Colorado's future. According to The Business Times, as many as 40 percent of business leaders who responded to the survey expected moderate or even strong economic growth heading toward the second and third quarters of 2016.
The one dark spot within the survey surrounded the presidential election this year, which has already proven extremely contentious and divisive. Due to the uncertainty that the election brings, the third quarter was the only period in which Colorado business leaders held a weaker view of the economy, and the index for this period fell by just a point.
Regardless, the results of the survey show that although cautious, most business owners in Colorado remain confident in the local economy as well as the market at large.
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