And the winners are……

November 2, 2010

The results are in!  The checks, $1,000 each, are in the mail.  The two winners of my contest, “Are you smarter than an economist?” are Gary Ritner, a Bellevue, Washington-based investment banker and co-founder of the Puget Sound Venture Club and Jeff Smith, a Project Manager for Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois.

As you may recall, winners needed to predict correctly when GDP would improve at least 2% from the prior quarter and when unemployment would be the same or better than the same month in the prior year.

Jeff predicted 3rd quarter ’09 and June ’10, for GDP and unemployment, respectively; Gary, 4th quarter ’09 and June ’10.

You may well be asking yourself:  If they had two different GDP predictions, how could both of them be winners?  The answer?  After the contest started, the Bureau of Economic Analysis apparently changed the formula for calculating GDP.  As of 3/26/10, the BEA website reported GDP improvement in Q3 ‘09 in chained dollars was 2.2%; as of 8/27/10, however, the website showed only 1.6% for Q3, but improvement of 5.0% in Q4.

So…that’s that—except I think the press should be asking Jeff and Gary what they predict for the future of the economy!  They were smarter than many economists!