Christopher Thornberg is Director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development and an Adjunct Professor at the School. He 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.
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, New York, Seattle, Orange County, Sacramento, Arizona, Nevada, and other geographies across the nation. He has also worked on Wall Street, advising hedge fund manager Paulson & Co. about macroeconomic issues.
Recent notable projects include housing and rent control studies for the California Apartment Association; research supporting the strategic allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds for the County of San Joaquin; an analysis and forecast of the socioeconomic factors that affect traffic growth and demand along a major interstate in Southern California; research on affordable housing in Los Angeles for a major law firm; 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 economic and revenue forecast for the City of San Luis Obispo; an analysis of the local technology industry for the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board; and an economic impact study for the 2024 Los Angeles Olympic Games Committee.
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.
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, Western Alliance Bank, the California Chamber of Commerce, City National Bank, the National Confectioner’s Association, 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 contributor to consensus economic forecasts published by the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the National Association of Business Economists, and the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University. He also serves 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 all the major networks, CNN, NPR, and is regularly quoted in major national dailies including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Los Angeles 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. degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.