Morgan Stanley economist wins Lawrence R. Klein Award for forecasting accuracy

Top forecaster to deliver 2021 economic outlook at virtual event on Oct. 12


October 5, 2020

Chief U.S. economist Ellen Zentner of Morgan Stanley has won her second Lawrence R. Klein Award, regarded as one of the best-known and longest-standing achievements in the field. Zentner joins four economists who have won the award twice in the more than 40 years of forecast accuracy winners. 

Zentner demonstrated amazing consistency, outshining the competitors for this year's award, which is judged and sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The Blue Chip Economic Indicators newsletter is the source of the forecasts used to select the winner. Managing Director and Chief U.S. Economist at Morgan Stanley Ellen Zentner Chief U.S. economist Ellen Zentner of Morgan Stanley. Download Full Image

"The award is based on the smallest average error for GDP, CPI and unemployment over the past four years," said economics Professor Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business. "Ellen Zentner and her Morgan Stanley team were outstanding on predicting the economy for the whole period, and they truly nailed the 2019 forecasts, when most analysts were expecting stronger growth and higher inflation. She projected slower GDP, hit CPI exactly, and missed the unemployment rate by only two-tenths of a percentage point." 

New this year, the economist with the most accurate forecasts — four years in a row — will deliver her predictions at a virtual event on Monday, Oct. 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. EST.

During the virtual ceremony, Zentner will deliver her 2021 economic forecast, outlook, and predictions regarding:
  • The U.S. economy and how it will see its way through the second wave of COVID-19.

  • Consumer spending performance through 2021.

  • Job growth and the unemployment rate.

  • Domestic demand in advance of a COVID-19 vaccine being delivered in 2021.

  • Measures of core inflation.

  • How the recovery will play out with or without further stimulus.

  • How the Fed's asset purchase program will impact rates for the foreseeable future.

Zentner has had the most accurate economic forecasts among the nation's top economists for the years 2016 through 2019. She also had the most accurate economic forecasts among the nation's top economists for the years 2014 through 2017.

"I am humbled to receive this prestigious award for economic forecasting — an honor made possible through the hard work and dedication of my team," Zentner said. "While this year has reminded us that the future is never certain, I am grateful for our ability to produce meaningful, collaborative research to help clients navigate today's complex economic landscape."

This also marks the third Lawrence R. Klein Award for Morgan Stanley as an organization, joining DuPont as a three-time winner. There are 50 contributing forecasters for the Blue Chip competition from leading organizations across the country, including financial institutions, manufacturing firms, consulting companies, and universities.

W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman will present the award to Zentner. Other VIP guests who will speak at the virtual event include Alex Triantis, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School dean and a professor of finance, and William P. Carey II, chairman of the Carey Foundation.

Learn more about the Lawrence R. Klein Award or register for the virtual event.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business

480-965-3963