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The University of Michigan’s

69th Annual Economic Outlook Conference

was held virtually on November 18–19, 2021

Guest Speaker is listed in program order.

Marisa Eisenberg

Marisa Eisenberg is an Associate Professor in the departments of Epidemiology, Complex Systems, & Mathematics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Marissa’s lab’s research program is in mathematical epidemiology, and is focused on using and developing parameter estimation and identifiability techniques to model disease dynamics. Much of her work is in building multi-scale models of infectious diseases, including examining cholera, environmentally driven diseases, and HPV dynamics. Her lab’s research blends mathematics, statistics, and epidemiology to understand transmission dynamics, inform optimal intervention strategies, and improve forecasting.

Rob Cage

Rob Cage has served as an Economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 30 years and is currently the Assistant Commissioner for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program. He holds a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University, a Master of Planning from the University of Virginia, and a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Ron Jarmin

Ron S. Jarmin is the U.S. Census Bureau’s acting director.
Jarmin is also currently the deputy director and chief operating officer and has been since January 2019. He performed the nonexclusive functions and duties of the director from July 2017 to January 2019 and previously served as the associate director for economic programs. He led the team for the 2017 Economic Census, overseeing a move to 100 percent Internet data collection and leveraging enterprise investments to minimize system, application, and dissemination costs. Data products from the economic census provide the foundation for key measures of economic performance, including the nation’s gross domestic product.
From 2011 to 2016, Jarmin served as the assistant director for research and methodology. He oversaw a broad research program in statis-tics, survey methodology, and economics aimed at improving economic and social measurement within the federal statistical system. Since beginning his career at the Census Bureau in 1992, he has also served as the chief economist, chief of the Center for Economic Studies, and a research economist.
Jarmin holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Oregon. An elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, he has published papers in the areas of industrial organization, business dynamics, entrepreneurship, technology and firm performance, urban economics, data access, and statistical disclosure avoidance.

Daryl Fairweather

Daryl Fairweather is the chief economist of Redfin. Prior to joining Redfin she was a senior economist at Amazon working on problems related to employee engagement and managing a team of analysts. During the housing crisis, Daryl worked as a researcher at the Boston Fed studying why homeowners entered foreclosure. Daryl received her Bachelor's of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received her Ph.D. and Master's degrees in economics at the University of Chicago where she specialized in behavioral economics.

Richard Auxier

Richard C. Auxier is a senior policy associate in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. His work focuses on state and local tax policy, budgets, and other finance issues. Before joining Urban, Auxier was on the staff of the DC Tax Revision Commission and helped write the commission's final report on recommendations for improving the District's tax system. He also was previously a researcher and editor at the Pew Research Center. Auxier attended the University of Maryland for his undergraduate degree and his master's degree in public policy.

Eric Sims

Eric Sims is a professor and department chair of economics at Notre Dame, where he has taught since 2009. He is a macroeconomist whose research focuses on business cycles and monetary and fiscal policies. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, the Journal of Monetary Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and several other scholarly journals. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and also serves as a research consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. At Notre Dame he teaches classes in macroeconomics and monetary policy at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and is a past recipient of the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He has also co-authored an online textbook for use in intermediate macroeconomics courses.

Joshua Montes

Joshua Montes is a senior economist in the Labor Markets Section of the Division of Research and Statistics at the Federal Reserve Board, where he forecasts the U.S. labor market as part of the Board’s macroeconomic forecast. Prior to that, he was an economist in the Macroeconomic Analysis Division at the Congressional Budget Office. His main areas of research are on labor force participation, wage dynamics, and policy evaluation, with an emphasis on using administrative and survey data to study labor market questions of perennial importance.

Kristin Dziczek

Kristin Dziczek is Senior Vice President of Research at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). Dziczek joined CAR in 2005 and has more than 25 years of experience as a researcher and policy analyst. She is globally recognized as an expert on automotive competitiveness, trade, industrial policy, labor, and talent issues. She regularly presents at conferences and industry events throughout North America.
Kristin leads CAR’s Business and Technology groups, with a research portfolio focused on developing a better understanding of the connections between the automotive industry, technology, the economy, society, and public policy. Kristin’s research includes analyzing the competitive cost position of the U.S. automotive industry and evaluating how different tax, trade, or industrial policies and incentives could impact overall automotive sales, production, and employment.
Prior to joining CAR, Kristin served as the associate director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and has worked for the U.S. Congress, International Union UAW, and General Motors Corporation. She has published articles in the Monthly Labor Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the Journal of Technology Transfer, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, among others. She earned her B.A. in economics, M.P.P. in public policy, and M.S. in industrial and operations engineering, all from the University of Michigan.

Elaine Buckberg

Elaine Buckberg is Chief Economist of General Motors. Immediately prior to joining GM, she was a Principal at The Brattle Group, a global economic consultancy. Previously, Buckberg served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Economic Policy. She also worked at NERA Economic Consulting, where she was a Senior Vice President as well as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and the Chair of the Strategy Committee. Buckberg began her career at the International Monetary Fund and worked in currency strategy and risk management at Morgan Stanley. Buckberg earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Economics and English from Yale University.

Jonathan Smoke

Jonathan Smoke is chief economist for Cox Automotive.
Smoke leads Cox Automotive’s economic industry insights team, which tracks the economy, new and used vehicle sales, supply, prices, retail and fleet demand, consumer credit and auto financing,
and dealer sentiment to understand the key trends impacting both the wholesale and retail markets for vehicles informed by the proprietary data from all of the company’s businesses and platforms including Manheim, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, vAuto, Xtime, and Dealertrack.
For more than 27 years, Smoke has focused on translating data and trends into relevant, actionable insights for the industries that represent the biggest purchases that consumers make in their lifetimes: real estate and automotive.
Prior to joining Cox Automotive, Smoke served as’s chief economist. Before that, he was the chief economist for Hanley Wood, a media and market intelligence company, and also served in a variety of roles at Beazer Homes, including senior vice president of strategy and innovation.
Smoke is an executive member of the board for the Atlanta Economics Club and is a member of the Conference of Business Economists, Harvard Industrial Economists and the National Association of Business Economists. He has spoken at major industry conferences such as the NADA and NIADA conventions, Automotive News World Congress, and Used Car Week. His views on the economy and the auto industry are featured regularly in industry and national news outlets such as Automotive News, Auto Remarketing, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomberg, and CNBC. Follow him on Twitter @SmokeonCars to keep up with the latest industry insights.
Smoke holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and religious studies from Rhodes College and a master’s degree in business from The University of Texas at Austin.

Saul Hymans

Saul Hymans is Emeritus Professor of Economics and Statistics and held the position of Director of the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics at the University of Michigan during 1981-2008. He has been at the University of Michigan since 1964, and served as chair of the Department of Economics during 1977-80.Saul received the national Blue Chip Annual Economic Forecasting Award (AEFA, formerly the Silbert Award) in 1984 and 1987, and is the first person to have received the AEFA twice.

Hymans graduated from Harvard College and holds a Ph.D. in economics and an M.A. in statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He served as senior staff economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers in 1967-68, as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research during 1989-2010, and as the U.S. forecaster for the Pacific Economic Outlook Project of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council during 1988-2008.

The author of numerous journal articles, chapters, and research papers, Hymans has also traveled to the Soviet Union on a U.S. scientific exchange delegation and has been a visiting scholar in Israel, Stockholm, and Hong Kong.

Mel Stephens

Mel Stephens is Chair of the department. He previously served as a leading expert in labor economics and a highly valued colleague in the department and college.  Stephens is Professor of Economics, with a courtesy appointment as Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School, as well as affiliations with the Population Studies Center (PSC) and the Survey Research Center (SRC) at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).  Stephens is also an alumnus of the department’s doctoral program. Stephens will serve as chair through the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Daniil Manaenkov

Daniil Manaekov is an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan. He is a lead research area specialist at the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE). His main areas of expertise are macroeconomics, monetary economics, and applied
He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University
of Minnesota, and holds a master of science degree in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and
Manaenkov has been involved in forecasting the U.S. economy for more than 15 years. Prior to joining RSQE, Manaenkov worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, where he managed the bank's macroeconomic forecasting model. At RSQE, he leads national forecasting. He testifies regularly to the Michigan Legislature and briefs the Governor on the national economic outlook. He recently coauthored The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2020–2022, and The Detroit Economic Outlook
for 2019–2024.

Michael R. McWilliams

Michael McWilliams is the Michigan Forecasting Specialist at RSQE. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, and he has also received an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. At RSQE, Michael assists with forecasts of the Michigan economy and leads the development of state tax revenue projections. He also participates in RSQE's local economic forecasts for the City of Detroit, Oakland County, MI, and Washtenaw County, MI. In 2018, Michael coauthored an RSQE report on the economic impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). He also contributes to RSQE's ongoing partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to provide economic impact assessments for the state's Transformational Brownfield Plan program.

Michael’s personal research focuses on a range of topics in environmental and natural resource economics, including land use change, regulation of light-duty vehicles, and the impact of the ethanol mandates. His work has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Energy Policy. During his graduate study, Michael interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

George Fulton

George A. Fulton received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. He is currently the Director at RSQE and Research Professor at the University’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy, where he is director of the Center for Labor Market Research.
He has been forecasting economic and fiscal activity in the state of Michigan annually for over three decades. In addition, he is co-director of a project to generate long-term economic and demographic projections for all the counties of Michigan. He is also a principal advisor to the University administration and to the state government on the economic situation in Michigan.
He has written a book on the Michigan regional economies, co-authored with former University of Michigan President Harold Shapiro. His research crosses disciplines, having been published in diverse professional journals and sponsored research reports.

Gabriel Ehrlich

Gabriel M. Ehrlich is an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan, where he is the director of the University’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE). He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. His work has been discussed in the Economist, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post, and he has published articles recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Urban Economics, and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Ehrlich oversees RSQE’s forecasts of the U.S. and Michigan economies, and he presents regularly to the Michigan Legislature and Governor on Michigan’s fiscal and economic prospects. He is a coauthor recently of The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2020–2021, The Michigan Economic Outlook for 2020–2021, and The Detroit Economic Outlook for 2019–2024.Prior to joining RSQE, Ehrlich worked in the Financial Analysis Division at the Congressional Budget Office, where he forecast interest rates and conducted analysis on monetary policy and the mortgage finance system.