Anil Puri

Anil Puri

Orange County business executives’ outlook for the last three months of this year has picked up noticeably, while one-third say reaching pre-pandemic levels won’t happen until after 2021, according to a survey conducted by economists at California State University-Fullerton.

The Orange County Business Expectations for the fourth quarter of 2020 improved to 80.9 from 62.9 in the third quarter, said the researchers led by Anil Puri, the director of the university’s Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting.

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“The index is still below the levels reached in the last several years but shows significant improvement from the last two quarters,” Puri said in releasing the survey results today.

The survey called the hiring picture “relatively stable” with 19.6% of firms queried intending to increase their labor force in the final quarter, compared to 22.9% in the previous quarter.

A cumulative 66.7% believe that they will reach pre-pandemic business levels by the end of 2021, while the remainder say it will happen sometime after next year, according to the survey.

This survey of more than 500 OC business executives was conducted from September 16-25, with a response rate of approximately 14%.

A more detailed look at the survey will be in the Oct. 5 issue of the Business Journal.