The Colorado Sun: Recession fears ease in state |

The Colorado Sun: Recession fears ease in state

Tamara Chuang
The Colorado Sun
Colorado business leaders feel more optimistic about the next three months than they have in the past nine, according to the Leeds Business Confidence Index for second-quarter 2023. Stronger sales and better hiring conditions are boosting that sentiment, but the uncertainty of the national economy is weighing down the index below 50, which is considered negative.
Leeds Business School / Courtesy image

Saturday might have been April Fools’ Day, but it’s no joke that local business leaders are feeling better about the economic future, at least compared with where it has been in the past nine months, according to the latest quarterly survey by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.

The survey asked the 230 executives about hiring plans, industry sales and other expectations for the next three months. Results were at some of the highest levels since the second quarter a year ago. 

It’s still not good, though. Dragging down the Leeds Business Confidence Index was how businesses felt about the national economy, which kept the index in “negative” territory, or below 50. At 45.1 overall, the index improved from the past two quarters, but a year ago it was at 53.9. The survey took place before the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Is a recession on the way? Almost certainly, agreed 15.3% of participants who pegged a recession to happen before the end of June. Most, however, pushed the date to the second half of the year or next year. About 23.7% were “uncertain.” An official U.S. recession, by the way, is when the National Bureau of Economic Research determines that the nation’s economic activity significantly declined for more than a few months. Sometimes, NBER doesn’t call it until months after that moment hits.

“We argue that whether or not we have a technical recession is somewhat immaterial unless we have some sort of a deeper recession based on an unknown,” Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of the Leeds Business Research Division, said during the quarterly survey’s presentation. “The question is now what happened in the last couple of weeks with Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failures and whether or not that banking system stress will create a more significant downturn.” 

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