Anirban Basu en Technology and the Workforce - 4/18/14 <p>There is a feeling among many that technological progress threatens the well-being of the workforce.&nbsp; After all, back in the 19th century, steam power and machinery destroyed many traditional jobs, but also created new ones.&nbsp; This time, the culprits are computers, more powerful software, robots and other manifestations of progress.&nbsp; These technologies have replaced manufacturing and service workers alike.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:19:09 +0000 Anirban Basu 11784 at Population Growth - 4/17/14 <p>Economists do not have a great reputation for forecasting accuracy.&nbsp; Arguably, among the worst records is that of Thomas Malthus, the pessimistic Englishman who two centuries ago wrote, “The power of population is so superior to the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race."&nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:30:00 +0000 Anirban Basu 11704 at Fertility Rates - 4/16/14 <p>Writers Michael Teitelbaum and Jay Winter point out in a recent New York Times piece that nearly half of all people now live in countries where women on average give birth to fewer than 2.1 babies.&nbsp; That is the number generally required to replace both parents.&nbsp; And this is not only true of nations such as Japan and Australia.&nbsp; It is also true in nations like Bhutan, El Salvador and Armenia.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:30:00 +0000 Anirban Basu 11589 at Corporate Profits - 4/15/14 <p>The U.S. Commerce Department recently reported that corporations collectively earned $2.1 trillion in 2013 and paid $419 billion in corporate taxes.&nbsp; The after tax profit of $1.7 trillion amounted to about 10 percent of last year’s gross domestic product, the first full year that it has been that high.&nbsp; In 2012, corporate profits’ share of gross domestic product was 9.7 percent, itself a record.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:30:00 +0000 Anirban Basu 11588 at Ranking the U.S.A. - 4/14/14 <p>It’s pretty easy to make the claim that America is number one.&nbsp; After all, the U.S. controls the world’s most powerful military and is home to its largest economy.&nbsp; In the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote, "Sure, technically Norwegians may be wealthier per capita and the Japanese may live longer, but the world watches the NBA, melts at Katy Perry, uses iPhones to post on Facebook, trembles at our aircraft carriers and blames the CIA for everything.&nbsp; We’re number 1."&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:25:22 +0000 Anirban Basu 11551 at Vacation Homes - 4/11/14 <p>The vacation home is making a comeback.&nbsp; Thanks in large measure to a surging stock market, Americans with discretionary spending power are increasingly looking for opportunities in the market for second or third homes.&nbsp; Vacation properties accounted for 13 percent of all sales last year, the highest level since 2006 when the share was 14 percent according to the National Association of Realtors.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 06:21:37 +0000 Anirban Basu 11425 at Consumer Purchases - 4/10/14 <p>Americans have been altering how they buy what they buy, with Internet sales grabbing market share in recent years.&nbsp; But consumers aren’t just shifting how they make purchases, but also what they’re buying.&nbsp; For decades, Americans purchases of basics like laundry detergent and toothpaste roughly kept pace with the economy’s overall rate of economic expansion. &nbsp;</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:30:00 +0000 Anirban Basu 11356 at GDP - 4/9/14 <p>You probably have never celebrated the existence of the economic measure known as gross domestic product or GDP.&nbsp; Perhaps you should.&nbsp; The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently listed GDP as one of the greatest inventions of the 20<sup>th</sup> century.&nbsp; According to writer Fred Andrews, GDP was devised during the Great Depression when President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal needed a gauge to determine how well programs were working and the economy was faring.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 00:39:38 +0000 Anirban Basu 11299 at Household Debt Level - 4/8/14 <p>For several years during and after the Great Recession, households sought to reduce their level of debt through a combination of diminished spending and more aggressive repayment.&nbsp; That period of deleveraging of households balance sheets appears to have come to an end.&nbsp; According to Moody’s Analytics, households are no longer collectively reducing their debt obligations.&nbsp; The U.S. household debt service ratio rose to 9.96 percent during the fourth quarter, meaning that household debt payments absorb about 10 percent of disposable income.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:30:00 +0000 Anirban Basu 11230 at Personal Income - 4/7/14 <p>Personal income expanded by 0.3 percentage points in both January and February.&nbsp; When one translates those monthly gains into annualized rates of income growth, the numbers appear impressive – good enough to suggest that growth in consumer spending can continue to power the economic expansion during the quarters ahead.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 04:18:57 +0000 Anirban Basu 11186 at