Optimism about the business climate remains steady among San Diego businesses, according to the latest Business Outlook Index from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, which the organization publishes as part of a monthly economic report.

The chamber said its most recent index, which a research firm calculated based on local business people's assessments of the regional economy over the next three months, clocked in at 23.7, exactly the index’s lifetime average.

The range of the index is -100 to 100, based on responses from 200 randomly selected members of San Diego-area chambers of commerce. Zero is considered a neutral outlook.

The average of the index for the first quarter of the year was 24.8, the highest since the second quarter of 2015. In the previous three quarters, the highest the index went was 18.

Still, the chamber said the latest index reflected a leveling off of the "Trump effect," which pushed the indicator to 25.6 in January, 53 percent better than where it ended 2016.

Of the respondents to the chamber's latest outreach to San Diego businesspeople, 41 percent said they think growth opportunities for small businesses have improved over the past five years.

A total of 31 percent named government regulation, taxes and fees as the most serious challenge facing small businesses in San Diego County. Other concerns included the recent minimum wage increase and the cost of health care, which 20 percent and 11 percent, respectively, named as their top worry.

La Jolla-based Silvergate Bank sponsors the chamber's economic update, which is conducted by Competitive Edge Research & Communication.