The San Diego business community’s outlook is regaining stability after erratic confidence in recent months, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce reported.
The chamber, which represents more than 2,500 businesses countywide, said its monthly business outlook index (BOI) rose to 21.3 points in May from 19.4 points in April, revealing a “moderately positive” outlook.
An outlier was Santee, where firms’ confidence spiked.
“For members of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, the BOI has moved from a lackluster 12 in the previous quarter to a robust 40 this month,” the report states.
Competitive Edge Research & Communication conducted the countywide survey for the chamber, polling 201 businesspeople between May 16 and May 31. The chamber released the results June 22.
The top challenge facing businesses, as measured by the percentage of survey respondents who mentioned it, is the minimum wage increase, the chamber said.
In addition to the 9 percent of businesspeople who noted mandated wage increases as a challenge, another 14 percent mentioned government regulations in general, changes in the political environment, taxes and the Affordable Care Act as difficulties.
“This means that more than one out of every five San Diego County businesses see government as a barrier to success,” the chamber report states.
Still, hiring rebounded in May, the survey shows, with large companies leading the way.
The survey included a question about the difficulty of launching a business in San Diego. That’s a tough process, according to 74 percent of those asked, who ranked doing so as “difficult” or “very difficult. A total of 19 percent said the process is easy in this county. The remaining 7 percent said they were unsure of how easy or difficult doing so would be.
Of those questioned, 32 percent would start a new company in their current city. Six percent said they would look elsewhere in California while 23 percent said they would leave the state. A total of 15 percent said they would never start a new business, regardless of geography.
However, some sectors find it easier than others, according to the survey.
Home and garden and health care-related companies are not tricky to start in San Diego County, the survey found. Responses from the county’s south suburbs also reflected a more optimistic outlook.
Notably, the survey found no correlation between a businessperson’s confidence and their perception of the difficulty of starting a company.
Pollsters checked in with 201 randomly selected members of the San Diego, East County, Alpine, Escondido, Lakeside, Vista, Santee and National City chambers of commerce, who completed the survey via phone or online.
Silvergate Bank sponsors the chamber survey.