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Colorado business confidence up despite inflation concerns

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado business leaders are growing more confident in the state’s economic recovery despite ongoing concerns about inflation, according to the latest Leeds Business Confidence Index. 

Overall, the index grew by 1.9 points from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022 and now stands at 58 points. For context, 50 points is considered neutral, and Colorado’s long-term average is 54.4 points. 

The index is compiled by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and is designed to capture business leaders’ expectations for the national economy, state economy, industry sales, profits, hiring plans, and capital expenditures. 

According to the latest index, business leaders are most confident in industry hiring and industry sales. Both metrics are largely dependent on increasing consumer spending, which the survey said is up more than 7.1% year-over-year. 

More than 68% of respondents also expect wages to rise in the near future to compensate for higher inflation levels. 

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that consumer prices were 6.8% higher in November 2021 than they were at the same time in 2020. 

The numbers are even worse in the Midwest region, which includes Colorado. Consumer prices in the region remain elevated by 7.3% above their 2020 levels. 

Business leaders also do not expect inflation to moderate in the second half of this year, or in 2023 either. 

One category that business leaders expressed the least confidence in is the national economy. According to the survey, 65.8% of respondents said the national economy will stay “neutral-to-positive” compared to the 34% of respondents who expect slower growth.