A survey of Colorado business leaders indicates the economic recovery has gained a foothold, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder's Leeds School of Business.

Business leaders are optimistic headed into the second quarter of 2012, according to the quarterly Leeds Business Confidence Index released Tuesday. The index posted a reading of 62.2, up from 54.5 last quarter.

An index reading of 50 is neutral. A reading greater than 50 indicates positive expectations, while one lower than 50 indicates negative expectations.

Business leaders are hopeful about all metrics measured by the index, including industry sales and profits, capital spending and hiring plans, and state and national economic growth.

"The second quarter index highlights that business leaders in Colorado are becoming more confident and worrying less about the economy," said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School's Business Research Division.

Uneasiness concerning the European debt crisis may have led to cautious optimism in the first quarter, said Wobbekind, who conducts the survey. But greater stability in Europe and encouraging reports on consumption and job growth in Colorado and nationwide seem to have boosted confidence for the second quarter.

More than half of the business leaders also expect that Colorado employees will receive modest wage increases of as much as 4 percent this year.

Overall, Colorado business leaders think the state's economy is in better shape than the national economy, according to the university. Their optimism for the national economy also improved considerably.