Unloading a container of bananas at the Port of San Diego. Port photo via Wikimedia Commons

Fewer San Diego businesses are considering leaving the city or state because of high wages or unfriendly government, according to a new survey by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s monthly forecast, released late last week, found that the number of businesses considering leaving has dropped by almost half over the past year.

A year ago, with a state-mandated minimum-wage increase just taking effect and San Diego considering its own hike, talk of businesses fleeing California permeated the news. With the city’s increase now tabled and the economy improving, the chamber said, companies are feeling more confident and content to stay in San Diego County.

The latest survey shows a wide majority of county businesses — 59 percent — see their local government as friendly to business. That’s up from 53 percent last year.

The change in attitude comes amid a generally improving economy. The chamber’s Business Outlook Index stood at 27.5 in July, up almost two points from last month and nearly 10 points from the same time last year.

“The Chamber understands that for businesses to succeed, government has to put the right policies in action and this is why we continue to bring together like-minded businesses and organizations to advocate for the issues that are critical to the business community,” said Jerry Sanders, a former mayor and now president and CEO of the chamber. “Looking ahead, 2016 will be a big year for politics in San Diego and we plan to continue to lead the way for business-friendly policies and candidates.”

The business outlook has also increased significantly in San Diego’s eastern suburbs — El Cajon, Santee, Lakeside, La Mesa and Spring Valley — with the index rising from 18 in the previous quarter to 30 currently. That’s a major turnaround for an area that is usually less than optimistic.

The forecast is sponsored by Silvergate Bank and conducted by Competitive Edge Research. The survey for this month’s installment was fielded June 18-30 and obtained responses from 204 randomly-selected members of area chambers of commerce.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.