Colorado Business Leaders Are Feeling Better About Nearly Everything, But Hiring Is Still A Challenge

Moo Bar inside Milk Market in downtown Denver. May 18, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Moo Bar inside Milk Market in downtown Denver. May 18, 2021.

Colorado business leaders are optimistic about the economy reopening, according to the latest Leeds Business Confidence Index survey.

The reading shows the state’s executives are feeling better about everything from sales and profits, to investing in their businesses, when compared to the last reading three months ago.

“These results indicate that business owners believe this will be a sustained economic recovery,” said Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of CU’s Leeds Business Research Division.

More than half of 250 respondents surveyed in June said sales either never declined or have already returned to pre-pandemic levels. Most expect their companies’ employment to reach pre-pandemic levels between the third quarter of this year and the end of next year, the study found.

Difficulty hiring staff was frequently cited as a challenge to getting back to full capacity, particularly in low-wage industries such as hospitality, according to Brian Lewandowski, executive director of the Leeds Business Research Division.

Restaurants have resorted to offering hiring bonuses and other incentives and still can’t lure enough workers back, he said.

“It’s a really tough position that they’re in right now where some businesses are having to close one day a week or two days a week or shorten their hours because of this labor force constraint that they have,” Lewandowski said.