Noted Southern California economist Jack Kyser retires

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The voice of Jack Kyser is one you’ve heard often here on KPCC. For years, he’s postulated on the future of Southern California’s economy as the founding economist of the Kyser Center for Economic Research at the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation. Now, the 76-year-old financial forecaster is retiring.

Kyser told KPCC's Alex Cohen he stumbled onto the field of economics, despite not holding a degree in the subject.

“I was out looking for a job and the economy, ironically, was slow," said Kyser. "I walked into the personnel office at Security First National Bank and they needed somebody who could draw charts - this is before the day of computer graphics - and boom, I got a job because my degree was in industrial design so I could draw very nicely," said Kyser.

Kyser said one of his most keen forecasts over the years was when he predicted the success of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Some had predicted the Olympics would fail because of the Soviet boycott.

But Kyser also acknowledged that recessions like the most recent one have made his job difficult. He said it was hard to get a handle on its significance.

As he gets ready to retire, Kyser offers this advice to his successor: “Just observe, and I think that’s the most important thing. Look at something and if it doesn’t quite make sense to you, try to figure out why something is going on."