Researchers at CLU CERF predict the economic future

An important aspect of any society is its economy. Money has an impact on just about everything. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to know ahead of time what the economy has in store? Well, that’s the mission of the California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research and Forecasting.

CLU’s CERF provides accurate, unbiased economic information for the community, according to Bill Watkins, PhD., executive director of CERF. On Nov. 8, CERF will be hosting its annual Ventura County Economic Forecast from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Sierra Center in Camarillo.  Online registration to the event is $175, which includes lunch and access to the full forecast. The event will feature Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University. According to his university biography, Caplan has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics and Intelligence, and appeared on “20/20” and “C-SPAN.”

“Bryan Caplan will be speaking on ‘Immigration, Economics and Opportunity: How to Improve the Forecast’,” Watkins said. “Dr. Caplan is a fantastic speaker on the topic. John Krist is another fantastic speaker that will represent Ventura County’s agricultural economy at the event.”

CERF serves a larger audience than those who are involved with CLU. Jeff Speakes, PhD., director of financial markets for CERF, explained that CERF’s research is necessary to provide a background for the planning activities of local business and government entities. Gerhard Apfelthaler, PhD., dean of CLU’s School of Management, oversees  academic and research units in the department, including CERF. Apfelthaler noted that CERF plays an important role in the local economy by providing data for the business community.

“CERF is meant to provide a service to the community and to CLU through excellence in economic research,” Apfelthaler said. “CERF is doing very unique work in economic analysis and forecasting. CERF is helping the wider business community and decision makers in politics to make informed decisions. Companies and government often must make decisions concerning the future and need solid predictions about the economic environment. We have some of the best faculty members to fulfill that promise.”

According to Watkins, Caplan will be joined at the forecast by John Krist, CEO of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County. Apfelthaler stated that the solution to immigration issues is not difficult to find when approached from an economic point of view.

“There’s a lot of politics surrounding immigration,” Apfelthaler said. “If you look at the topic from an economic angle, the solution presents itself almost automatically.”

According to Watkins, the Economic Forecast will focus on Ventura County, but will also tackle the United States economy, as well as the state of California. For more information, visit


Keith Sparks
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 6, 2013