Anil Puri, Mira Farka

Anil Puri, Mira Farka

Orange County’s unemployment rate may spike at 17% in the next three months, and won’t come down to pre-pandemic levels until 2022 at the earliest, according to California State University-Fullerton economists in their Spring Economic Forecast.

“Tough times are ahead,” said Woods Center for Economic Research Analysis and Forecasting Director Anil Puri.

Get the latest OC business and Coronavirus updates

He and co-director Mira Farka project that OC unemployment will average 11.5% in the second quarter, which ends on June 30. They said that “in the next three months the unemployment rate may go up to 15% to 17% for a month or two before it comes down.”

“It will start declining but it will not reach the level of 2.5%-3% until after 2021,” according to their report presented online rather than in person due to the COVID-19 prevention measures.

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.