Chris Thornberg, PhD
Christopher Thornberg founded Beacon Economics LLC in 2006. Under his leadership the firm has become one of the most respected research organizations in California serving public and private sector clients across the United States. In 2015, Dr. Thornberg also became Director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development and an Adjunct Professor at the School.
An expert in economic and revenue forecasting, regional economics, economic policy, and labor and real estate markets, Dr. Thornberg has consulted for private industry, cities, counties, and public agencies in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Bay Area, San Diego, the Inland Empire, Seattle, Orange County, Sacramento, Nevada, and other geographies across the nation. Recent and ongoing projects include an analysis of minimum wage programs for the City of Los Angeles; housing and rent control studies for the California Apartment Association; quarterly regional economic outlooks for the East Bay Economic Development Alliance; a recession recovery plan for the City and County of San Francisco; an annual economic assessment of LA’s city council districts for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; an analysis of the local technology industry for the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board; and economic impact studies for the 2024 Los Angeles Olympic Games Committee and the University of Southern California.
Dr. Thornberg became nationally known for forecasting the subprime mortgage market crash that began in 2007, and was one of the few economists on record to predict the global economic recession that followed. In 2015, he was named to California State Treasurer John Chiang’s Council of Economic Advisors, the body that advises the Treasurer on emerging strengths and vulnerabilities within the state’s economy. From 2008 to 2012, he served as economic advisor to the California State Controller’s Office, and as Chair of then State Controller John Chiang’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Well known for his ability to capture and hold audiences, Dr. Thornberg has presented to hundreds of leading business, government, and nonprofit organizations across the globe including Chevron, The New Yorker, Colliers International, the California Chamber of Commerce, City National Bank, the California State Association of Counties, State Farm Insurance, the City of Los Angeles, the California and Nevada Credit Union League, and the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, among many others. He has testified before the U.S. Congress House Committee on Financial Services on municipal debt issues, before the California State Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation regarding rule changes related to Proposition 13, and before the Los Angeles City Council about proposed changes to local minimum wage laws.
Dr. Thornberg is a panel member of the National Association of Business Economists’ quarterly “Outlook,” and a contributor to monthly economics polls published by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He also serves as Chair of the California Chamber of Commerce Economic Advisory Council, is on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, is an Executive Member of the Central City Association (Los Angeles), and is a member of the California Association for Local Economic Development. Prior to launching Beacon Economics Dr. Thornberg was a senior economist with UCLA’s Anderson Forecast. He previously taught in the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School, in the Rady School of Business at UC San Diego, and at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also held a faculty position in the economics department at Clemson University.
A well-known media commentator, Dr. Thornberg has appeared on CNN and NPR and is regularly quoted in major national dailies including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Thornberg holds a Ph.D in Business Economics from The Anderson School at UCLA, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.