Survey: Colorado’s outlook for business, economy is positive

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Sunday, May 31st, 2015 at 12:36pm.

Colorado’s small business owners are among the most optimistic in the country, according to the sixth annual U.S. Bank Small Business Survey.

The survey monitors the attitudes, perceptions and outlook of small business owners over two phases: the first phase was comprised of 1,000 national responses to serve as a baseline across U.S. Bank’s 25-state footprint. The second phase represented an over-sample of 2,202 state-level interviews in the 11 markets of Arizona, northern and southern California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

Of those Colorado small business owners surveyed, 61 percent said conditions for small businesses are stronger in their state than the rest of the country. That’s up from the 52 percent of those who felt the same way last year, and 31 percentage points more than the low point of the survey, 2011.

Sixty-eight percent of those Colorado small business owners also said the economic conditions in the state were better than the nation, compared with only 38 percent who thought so in 2011 and 57 percent in 2014.

“This year the results show small business owners are more confident about the future of their businesses now than at any time in the six-year history of the survey,” according to U.S. Bank. “Optimism is on the rise, businesses are healthier, and they may be on the verge of taking action to expand; however, few are actually seeking credit to do it.”

Of those surveyed, 18 percent of small business owners said they felt the economy was in recession in 2015, down from 89 percent in 2010. Moreover, 67 percent say the national economy is in recovery or expansion, up from 46 percent in 2013, U.S. Bank reports.

Business owners who said they plan to add staff increased from 20 percent in 2014 to 25 percent in 2015. Three out of four (76 percent) say their business is financially strong, and their revenues have stabilized, with 28 percent saying revenue increased and 52 percent stating that it had stayed the same over 2014, according to the survey results.

Most are still not seeking credit, with 86 percent reporting they had not tried to borrow money for business purposes in the last six months. Of those who did borrow, 65 percent said it was easy, compared to just 44 percent who cited easy access to credit last year. In addition, significantly more small business owners (34 percent) said they plan to make a capital expenditure to expand their business over the next year, U.S. Bank reports.

According to the survey, increased competition and rising healthcare and labor costs surfaced as more significant challenges facing business owners this year; however, for the first time since 2010, fewer than half (47 percent) said the long-term impact of the Affordable Care Act will be negative. Business owners were split on whether the healthcare law resulted in premium hikes – 49 percent said they had higher premiums, while 45 percent said there was no impact and 7 percent said their premiums were lower. (Note: percentages do not add to 100 because of rounding.)

In Colorado, 56 percent of small business owners surveyed said the healthcare changes had not impacted insurance premiums, while 37 percent said it had resulted in higher premiums and 8 percent said premiums were lower. However, only 36 percent of business owners said the Affordable Care Act would have a positive long-term impact, while 41 percent said it would have a negative long-term impact and 24 percent were not sure.

Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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