Former state revenue forecaster Arun Raha, who left Washington for a job in Ohio last year, won recognition from the Wall Street Journal Thursday as the best economic forecaster of 2012. The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council put out a news release announcing the recognition for one of its alumnus, saying his inflation forecast was “spot-on.”
The award is the second from WSJ for Raha but during his tenure, Raha struggled to offer state revenue forecasts that were low enough to account for the downward effect that the ever-grinding Great Recession had on actual state revenues. It led him to question the economic models and note there were underlying shifts in the state economy – such as more online sales – that were eroding tax collections.
He wasn’t alone, and like most forecasters he had trouble gauging the economic bottom.
Known for his quick wit and gallows humor, which helped make gloomy forecast council meetings bearable, Raha quit in January 2012.
Steve Lerch was hired permanently last year to fill the position after serving as interim executive director of the council on two occasions.