Anil Puri

Anil Puri

OC business leaders’ expectations for the current quarter “collapsed” due to the coronavirus pandemic and 50% of local companies intend to let employees go, according to economists at California State University-Fullerton.

“There has been a significant change in attitudes similar to the Great Recession but at a lightning speed,” economists led by Anil Puri said in their expectations survey for the three months that started Wednesday. Puri directs CSUF’s Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting.

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The economists’ business expectations index dropped from 92.9 in the first quarter to 22.7 currently. A reading of above 50 indicates belief in future economic growth.

The report said the crisis “is likely to be a longer process than anyone expected.” The first quarter survey showed 1 in 10 firms planned to shed workers; the current survey, charting expectations through June said, “few firms intend to increase hiring.”

This survey of OC business executives was conducted from March 19 to March 31; 55 executives responded for a response rate of approximately 9%.

Go here for more updates on how OC companies are responding to coronavirus.

For ongoing, in-depth coverage of coronavirus effects on OC businesses, see the Monday print edition of the Business Journal.