When it comes to the economy, who has the best crystal ball? Bloomberg Markets has ranked the top 10 most accurate analysts in its new list.If you want to know how fast the U.S. economy is recovering, ask Lou Crandall. He's the chief economist at economic advisory firm Wrightson ICAP, and Bloomberg Markets magazine just ranked him the No. 1 most accurate analyst when it comes to forecasting the U.S. economy.

The magazine unveiled its list on Thursday after evaluating 64 forecasters on their ability to predict the movements of 13 key economic indicators: the consumer price index, durable goods, existing home sales, gross domestic product, housing starts, industrial production, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index, new home sales, nonfarm payrolls, personal spending, the producer price index, retail sales and unemployment.

Forecasters were judged based on their predictions during the two-year period starting on Oct. 1, 2008, including the financial crisis and a portion of the current recovery. (Because GDP is only recorded quarterly, the ranking for that indicator was based on a period starting Oct. 1, 2007.).

Best in Show

Crandall topped the list as the best overall forecaster, with an 86.4% accuracy rating. That could portend some bad news considering that, in the magazine, he makes an economic prediction that most hope he is wrong about: "The recovery is going to continue to be painfully slow," he says. "Some progress is being made, but it is from such dismal levels that we have not yet re-established a sense that things are moving in the right direction."

Here's the list of the top 10 forecasters, along with their overall accuracies:

1) Lou Crandall, Wrightson ICAP (86.4%)
2) Dean Maki, Barclays Capital (84.9%)
3) Bill Jordan, Ried Thunberg ICAP (83.7%)
4) John Herrmann, State Street Global Markets (82.9%)
5) Jan Hatzius, Goldman Sachs (81.5%)
6) Gregorio De Felice, Intesa Sanpaolo (80.3%)
7) Heinrich Bayer/Thilo Heidrich/Fabienne Riefer, Deutsche Postbank (79.3%)
8) Marie-Pierre Ripert/Nathalie Dezeure, Natixis (79.0%)
9) Nariman Behravesh, IHS (78.8%)
10) David Sloan, 4CAST (78.2%)

Top Specialists

While Crandall was the best overall projector, some other economists were far more accurate at predicting specific indicators, according to the Bloomberg Markets report. Raymond James's chief economist, Scott Brown, scored a 90% accuracy rating for the unemployment category -- making him the top unemployment forecaster -- but didn't rank in the top 10 overall.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley's managing director and chief U.S. fixed income economist, David Greenlaw, also didn't make the top 10 overall list even though he scored the highest at forecasting personal spending trends, with an amazing 91.4% accuracy in that area.

Still, many forecasters agree that the U.S. is likely to experience slow growth for the foreseeable future. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg from Nov. 3 to Nov. 9 project that the U.S. economy will expand only 2.5% in 2011 and 3.1% in 2012. The U.S. can only hope the reality will outpace these predictions -- although given Crandall's record, it might be prudent not to bet on it.

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ebreit19

Wonder where ben stein fits on this list; for sure, not high

December 02 2010 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vitoalicia

Tax, borrow, print and pray.

December 02 2010 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
some1do

Here is another prediction for you: An entire nation cannot borrow for a generation, inflate the money supply and the prices with it, and then hope that all will be fine when it is time to payback principal + interest. Deflationary crash is coming. Debt is the problem and we have more of it now: http://www.tradingstocks.net/html/inflation_deflation_credit_bub.html

December 02 2010 at 1:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

Still telling us to invest in Wall Street. Another duped writer

December 02 2010 at 8:27 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
debsdot

Just want to know how versatile is his being analyst? Because I want to know the economy of my country in the future and is it by that time we still have something to eat!? http://www.couponcodesdiscounts.info

December 02 2010 at 4:05 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mikfete58

Why didn't any of these buffoons predict the 2008 crash? These people are just government chosen "sheep" that agree with whatever statistics the government throws out there.

December 02 2010 at 1:35 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mikfete58's comment
chase5300

And as everyone can see (Wikileaks) the Gov't LIES ALL THE TIME! Isn't it disgusting that our Statesmen elected to the highest offices ALL LIE?!!!???

December 02 2010 at 10:52 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply