Chief Economist, U.S. Bank | Chief Economist & Chief Investment Strategist, FAF Advisors
Keith Hembre has a knack for predicting the future-economically, that is.
Hembre earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Minnesota. After working a few years, he enrolled in Baylor’s Master of Science in Economics (MSEco) program.
“The MSEco program at Baylor is unique,” he said. “The program helped build the foundation for the work I am doing now.”
Hembre chose the MSEco thesis track, where students complete 24 credit hours of coursework and write and defend a thesis, worth six credit hours.
“The MSEco thesis track was a valuable process for me,” he said. “Not only did the thesis serve as a completed project to show potential employers, but it also served as mock job training. In my job today, I continuously write and present economic forecasts to clients, investors and prospective clients.”
After earning his graduate degree, Hembre was involved with independent work before embarking on an international experience in the fall of 1994, when he taught an economics class at the University of St. Petersburg in Russia.
“I saw an article in the Baylor Business Review with Dr. Steve Gardner talking about a program in St. Petersburg,” he said. “I always had an interest in travelling to that part of the world, and it was an experience of a lifetime.”
After returning from Russia and working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Hembre joined FAF Advisors, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, in 1997. He serves as chief economist for U.S. Bank, and chief economist and chief investment strategist for FAF Advisors.
“Numbers are a big component of my work, but we’re also looking at market psychology, policy and demographic issues, global interactions™a variety of factors,” he said.
Hembre said working with so many variables is just the “nature of the beast;” however, the power of economics can be understood even on the most simplistic level.
“I remember sitting in Dr. Steve Green’s class, and he was talking about micro supply and demand curves,” Hembre said. “And he said, ‘This is how the world works.’ That is really the appeal of the field of economics for me. It is a framework for how the world works now, five years from now, 10 years down the road and so on.”
Hembre advises current economics students to distinguish themselves from other job candidates by making the most of their academic resources.
“In this job market, anything that differentiates you is helpful,” he said. “A combination of skills is valuable, for example, picking up a foreign language. It becomes increasingly important as we shift toward the emphasis on global economic trends.”
And Hembre’s work revolves around understanding these trends. BusinessWeek named him the “most accurate economic forecaster” in 2007, and one of the “top five economic forecasters” in 2008 among national economists participating in BusinessWeek’s economic surveys. He has also been quoted by additional major publications and media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and Reuters.
“You have to establish your own framework for analysis and forecasting and figure out what works,” he said. “And then you hope to be right more than you are wrong.”