Eminent Economists Launch Forecast Center at Cal Lutheran

Eminent economists Bill Watkins and Dan Hamilton will join the California Lutheran University School of Business to expand their regional forecast project and help develop a proposed new graduate program in economic analysis and forecasting.

Watkins and Hamilton, who were previously with the University of California Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project, will move to CLU next month. Kirk Lesh, another member of the UCSB team who is currently a senior lecturer at CLU, will also become a full-time faculty member. The three economists will split their time between teaching and research.

Under their direction, the new economic forecasting and research center at CLU will integrate graduate and undergraduate economics instruction, research and outreach to the business community.

Watkins, Hamilton and Lesh have been providing information on economic, demographic and regional business trends in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles counties through the UCSB Economic Forecast Project. The new center at CLU will be designed to provide forecasts on a local, state and national level that the leaders of government agencies, businesses and nonprofits can use to make decisions.

Watkins, who has a doctorate in economics, has been the executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project since 2000 and previously served as an economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C. Hamilton, who also has a doctorate in economics, has served as the director of economics for the UCSB project since 2000. Lesh, who plans to complete his doctorate in economics this year, has served as the project’s real estate economist since 2007.

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