Layoffs, tight credit and other fallout from the troubled economy have battered Southern California's office market, leading to vacancy rates as high as 30% in some areas.

The pain is expected to continue for months, if not years, with vacancies rising even as the economy shows modest signs of recovery, according to industry observers tracking activity in the first quarter.

'We have a rough road ahead of us,' said Joe Vargas, senior managing director of real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. 'It's going to be a very challenging market for the remainder of the year.'

Los Angeles Times