Anirban Basu

Host, Morning Economic Report

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants.  Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate.  Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes.  Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.

He is the author of numerous regional publications including the Mid-Atlantic Economic Quarterly and Outlook Maryland and is routinely asked to contribute to local media, including on his radio show on WTMD, 89.7 FM/Baltimore and here on WYPR's Morning Economic Forecast.  Anirban completed his graduate work in mathematical economics at the University of Maryland.  He earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1992. His Bachelors in Foreign Service is from Georgetown University and was earned in 1990.  He is currently working toward his J.D. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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The Morning Economic Report
10:02 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Air Passenger Traffic on the Rise - 7/22/14

Global air passenger traffic is doubling every 15 years, bringing more people to already congested airports and airplanes.  Over the past two decades, the average number of seats per flight has increased by 32 percent according to Airbus.  Flying can be uncomfortable, but certain airlines are taking steps to make their customers more comfortable, at least those that can afford a higher quality of service. 

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The Morning Economic Report
7:28 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Large Cities and Wealthy Nations - 7/21/14

There was a time when the largest cities of the world were primarily in wealthy nations.  Those cities were associated with plentiful job opportunities, drawing people to them.  In 1950, 20 of the world’s 30 largest cities were in nations deemed to be high income by the World Bank.  Back then, New York represented the largest urban area on the planet with 12.3 million residents.  Tokyo, with 11.3 million people, was second, and New York and Tokyo were the only areas with more than 10 million people. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Vacation Time - 7/18/14

America stands alone among developed countries of the world by not mandating vacation time.  According to a 2014 Oxford Economics analysis, of those who do get vacation time, 4 in 10 Americans stockpile them, failing to take all the days they’re offered.  Those stay-at-work Americans leave an average of 8.1 days unused.  That translates into about 429 million unused days per year. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Homeownership of Young Adults - 7/17/14

Homeownership has been falling over the last few years in much of the United States, but the decline among younger adults has been particularly striking.  The homeownership rate in the 25 to 34 age group fell by nearly 8 percentage points from 2004 to 2013 according to a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.  As pointed out by writer Lisa Prevost, over the same period, student debt surged by more than 400 percent to top $1 trillion, a run-up that dwarfs the surge in mortgage debt during the housing bubble.  The connection between student debt and declining homeownership appears unassailable based on these data. 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:35 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Consumer Spending - 7/16/14

One of the driving forces behind the current U.S. economic recovery has been consumer spending.  Consumers have been dishing out money on any number of items, including merchandise sold on the Internet, automobiles and vacations.  They have also been spending at the nation’s malls, which is inducing shopping center owners to increase rents as retailers now in expansion mode jockey for dwindling available space according to the Wall Street Journal. 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:31 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Unemployment Rate - 7/15/14

This audio is pending

The nation’s unemployment rate is precisely where it was in the fall of 2008, but according to writer Binyamin Appelbaum, the labor market remains much weaker today than it was then.  For instance, 3 percent of America’s adult population reports that they are working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs.  This figure remains far above the December 2007 level of about 1.8 percent.  In fact, part time jobs accounted for two thirds of all new jobs added in June, which suggests that many of these new jobs related to summertime consumer spending.  Those are the types of jobs that may not last into the fall and are unlikely to pay significantly while they last.

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The Morning Economic Report
8:25 am
Tue July 15, 2014

June's Job Numbers - 7/14/14

Less than a week ago, the U.S. Labor Department announced that the nation added 288,000 jobs in June – that was far better than the 215,000 jobs economists had predicted.  The nation’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent last month, its lowest level since September 2008 when investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, setting off the full-blown global financial crisis.

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The Morning Economic Report
10:03 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Economic Good News - 7/11/14

There is much about the U.S. economy with which to be pleased.  Real gross domestic product appears to be tracking above 3 percent during the current quarter.  Job gains have accelerated. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:29 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Economic Impact of Student Loans - 7/10/14

Most people would agree that large volumes of student debt are holding the economy back.  Just a decade ago, there were only about $300 billion in student loans outstanding.  Today, that figure is in the range of $1.1 trillion.  While that total is dwarfed by total mortgage debt in the U.S., $8.2 trillion, student debt is concentrated among a smaller group of people – many of them in their 20s and 30s.  These people often serve as the engine of economic activity, including with respect to the housing market. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Student Debt Forgiveness - 7/9/14

The federal government has taken certain steps to relieve some of America’s student debt burden.  President Obama recently announced that he is expanding the Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan, which targets borrowers with low incomes relative to their overall federal student loan debt.  The program reduces borrowers’ monthly payments and provides the opportunity for debt forgiveness.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, there were 190,000 borrowers enrolled at the end of March.  According to the White House, the recent change could render up to 5 million more borrowers eligible over the next year or so. 

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