'Most Accurate Economist' to deliver 2012 forecast

Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius

Despite the intense twists and turns of the U.S. economy over the past several years, one man was able to sort through all the static and deliver an extraordinarily accurate forecast of the recession and recovery we’re all enduring. Because of this, Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius is the winner of the prestigious Lawrence R. Klein Award for economic forecasting this year, becoming one of only a handful of people to take the award twice.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers will present Hatzius with the award at a high-profile event in New York on Oct. 20. At the ceremony, Hatzius will also deliver his economic forecast for 2012.

“I am honored to be recognized with the Lawrence R. Klein Award, which I accept on behalf of the U.S. economics team at Goldman Sachs, as this is very much a team effort,” says Hatzius. “Consistently accurate forecasts will always be a challenge.  But the one thing we can guarantee is our determination to deliver high-quality and objective analysis to our clients.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University sponsors and judges the Lawrence R. Klein Award, regarded as one of the best-known and longest-standing awards in the economic profession. Hatzius won the award this time for having the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey participants for the years 2007 to 2010. His previous win was for forecasting the years 2005 to 2008.

Overall, Hatzius demonstrates amazing consistency, beating out about 50 of the country’s other top economic forecasters who participate in the Blue Chip survey – for the second time. The Blue Chip Economic Indicators newsletter has been published for more than 30 years and is regarded as the “gold standard” of business forecasts.

“The challenge for the forecasters was to project the depth of the economy’s contraction and then gauge the strength of the recovery into 2010,” explains Research Professor of Economics Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The Goldman Sachs analysts, led by Jan Hatzius, were especially accurate on interest rates and tracked the cycle overall better than anybody else.”

Hatzius has also previously been honored by The Wall Street Journal and Institutional Investor as the top economic forecaster in the nation. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 and is now responsible for setting the firm’s U.S. economic and interest rate outlook. When he became chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs, he succeeded William Dudley, now president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At Goldman Sachs, Hatzius is now chief economist, as well as co-head of economics, commodities and strategy research in the Americas and co-head of global economics research. He is also a member of the economic advisory panels of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Congressional Budget Office.

Hatzius’ forecast for 2012 will include these predictions:

  • Below-trend growth of 2.4 percent on a fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter basis for 2012, with a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 9.4 percent;
  • A substantial risk of renewed recession;
  • Core inflation to peak early in the year;
  • Likely additional quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve;
  • Long-term interest rates edging up, but staying far below the historic norm.

Summers will present Hatzius with the award at the University Club in New York on Oct. 20. The event starts at 6 p.m. Among the VIPs attending are Randell E. Moore, executive editor of the Blue Chip Economic Indicators; dean Robert Mittelstaedt of the W. P. Carey School of Business; Wm. Polk Carey, founder of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC; and the award namesake, Nobel laureate Lawrence R. Klein.