Led by a sharp plunge in office construction and a stagnating national economy, Orange County's once-booming economy slowed considerably in mid-1986 and will continue to slide for at least the remainder of the year, Chapman College's Center for Economic Research reported Thursday.
"The downward forces have gained momentum," said James Doti, dean of Chapman's School of Business and Management. "Now the question is not whether the growth rate will fall, but only how fast."
Although Doti has been forecasting a decline in Orange County's economy for the last nine months, he said Thursday that events have more than confirmed his expectations. However, he steadfastly refused to predict another recession for either the nation or the county.
"I can only say that the possibility for a recession is greater than it was," he said.
As a result of the weakness, Doti said he expects layoffs by county businesses to increase and the rate of job creations to slow dramatically.