We contrast two approaches to the prediction of latent variables in the model of factor analysis. The likelihood statistic is a sufficient statistic for the unobservables when sampling arises from the exponential family of distributions. Linear predictors, on the other hand, can be obtained as distribution-free statistics. We provide conditions under which a class of linear predictors is sufficient for the exponential family of distributions. We also examine various predictors in the light of the following criteria: (I) sufficiency, (ii) mean-square error, and (iii) unbiasedness and illustrate our results with the help of Chinese data on living standards.