Confidence among San Diego County businesses fell in June, according to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce's monthly business outlook forecast, dropping to the lowest level since the index launched nearly three years ago.

Since the start of the year, the index has fluctuated from last month’s low of 15.7 to a high of 26.9 in March. However, because the index ranges from -100 to 100, with zero being neutral, the outlook of businesses in the region remains positive.

Information for the Regional Chamber’s report was gathered by Competitive Edge Research & Communication from 201 randomly selected members of the San Diego, East County, Alpine, Escondido, Encinitas, Lakeside, Vista, Santee, and National City chambers of commerce.

According to survey data gathered in June, 25 percent of businesses surveyed expect to need employees to work more in the next three months, down from 32 percent in the previous quarter.

Business conditions in June appeared to be improving for 39 percent of businesspeople who responded to the survey. But in the prior three months, just over half of respondents on average felt conditions were on the upswing in their industry, according to the Regional Chamber’s report.

Geographically, East County businesses reported the worst outlook countywide, entering negative territory with a month-over-month drop in the index of 53, from 24 to -29. Of those firms, 42 percent said they foresaw laying off workers; none that responded to the survey plan to add employees.

Also in June, 10 percent of respondents pinpointed the minimum wage increase as a major obstacle to success. Nine percent of businesses felt that way in May, according to the report.

However, businesses’ take on local government and stance on whether they plan to stay in San Diego didn’t register any significant year-over-year change, according to the report.

“Most businesses see their local government as being overall friendly to commerce, and the percentage of businesses considering a move out stands at 13 percent,” the report said.