Anirban Basu | WYPR

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.

When people talk about America getting older, they are typically speaking about its population.  But as pointed out by Bloomberg, that’s hardly the only thing in the U.S. that’s aging.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average age of all fixed assets, including things like factories and hospitals, stands at twenty three years, the oldest in records tracing back to nineteen twenty five. 

There are a lot of men between the ages of twenty five and fifty four who aren’t in the labor force.  One of the reasons for this is that many men suffer from serious health conditions that represent major barriers to work.  According to Princeton labor economist Alan Krueger, they sometimes suffer physical pain, but also frequently from sadness and stress. 

More than ninety four million Americans eligible to work are not in the U.S. labor force, meaning that they don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one.  Many Americans view this statistic as an indication of national economic decline. 

The International Monetary Fund has been sending out a lot of warning signals about the global economy recently.  Here’s another.  According to the Fund, the world is awash in one hundred and fifty two trillion dollars of debt, an all time high that sits at more than double the amount of debt owed at the turn of the century. 

The International Monetary Fund is warning that ongoing sluggish global economic growth could bolster the emerging anti-trade backlash that has become a feature of political discourse in both the U.S. and Europe. 

There was a time when the notion of free trade was reasonably popular in America.  The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA passed during the mid-1990s. 

Free Trade - 10/17/16

Oct 19, 2016

While many people oppose the spread of free trade, the fact of the matter is that in recent years, trade volumes have already not been growing as they had been prior to the two thousand and eight financial crisis. 

A recent Bloomberg article focused on the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which like many cities has been staring at years of deficits. Often, when cities are having difficulty balancing budgets, they cut spending and/or raise taxes. 

Despite ongoing frustration with slow wage growth in many American households, recently released census data indicate that three point five million Americans were able to to stretch above the poverty line last year.  Much of this is due to faster wage growth among retailers, restaurants and hotels, the types of businesses that hire lots of entry level and near entry-level workers. 

Americans are moving from job to job more quickly these days, perhaps an indication of growing health in the U.S. labor market.  According to recently released Labor Department data, median employee tenure, which represents the length of time that the typical worker has been with his or her current employer, stood at four point two years in January. 

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