The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 7:33 am

Anirban Basu, Chairman 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. 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.

Aging and Economic Growth

Feb 7, 2017

For years, economists have fretted that rapidly aging populations in the developed world will suppress global economic growth. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, a new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research challenges that view. The paper, authored by economists from MIT and Boston University, argues that aging population have not had a negative effect on the growth of per capita gross domestic product.

Dan DeLuca/flickr

There has been a lot of discussion regarding America’s sagging labor force participation rate. The participation rate, which reflects the proportion of adults who are working or looking for work, stands only a few tenths of a percentage point above a multi-decade low. Men have been at the center of much of the discussion, including those living in rural areas or in Rust Belt cities. Male labor force participation has been declining for some time, but the economic impact was less apparent when women were entering the labor force in large numbers.

The chief economist at the job site Indeed, Jed Kolko, utilized Census Bureau data to dissect the educational, occupational, and geographical background of immigrants in the U.S. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Kolko’s analysis indicates that Americans most recent arrivals – those who came to the U.S. over the past five years – have been gravitating to jobs as medical researchers, software developers, physicists and economists.

Global Growth

Feb 2, 2017
Scott Akerman/flickr

The International Monetary Fund recently stated that the U.S. economy would expand faster than previously expected in both 2017 and 2018. The upward revision in the IMF’s forecast is based on the Trump Administration’s stated tax and spending plans. However, the IMF kept its global growth forecasts unchanged due to weakness in some key emerging markets.

A little less than two week ago, President Barack Obama spent his final day in the White House. We can now reflect upon his eight years in office, including with respect to the performance of the U.S. economy during those years. One word of caution is in order. Economists generally resist giving American presidents too much credit or blame for economic performance. Many factors influence economic outcomes, and many are not susceptible to the influence of policymakers.

Vehicle Deaths

Jan 31, 2017
Michael Gil/flickr

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths surged about 8 percent during the first nine months of last year. As reported by the New York Times, that represents a continuation of an upward spiral that may be partially explained by the presence of more Americans on the roads due to the ongoing economic recovery. Low gas prices are also inducing more driving.

Kathryn Decker/flickr

Judging by key headline numbers, the U.S. labor market remains in good shape. Unemployment remains below five percent and there are indications of faster wage growth. However, there are certain key metrics that suggest that the pace at which the job market has been improving is no longer accelerating.

Rising Down Payments

Jan 27, 2017
futureatlas.com

Saving a down payment for a house is a big deal. According to an analysis by Zillow, a median-priced home in the U.S. now costs more than $192,000, which means that buyers have to come up with more than $38,000 to put 20 percent down. That translates into about two-thirds of the average household income. As indicated by CNN Money, that down payment figure fails to include the added expenditures associated with purchasing a home like inspections, closing costs and moving expenses.

song zhen/flickr

According to a new report from Bankrate, nearly six in ten Americans do not have enough savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense. Only 41 percent of adults report having enough in their savings accounts to cover a surprise bill of this magnitude. As reported by CNN Money, a little more than one in five said that they would put the expense on a credit card. Another one in five would have to reduce their spending while 11 percent would turn to friends and family for financial assistance.

Vanishing Hospitals

Jan 25, 2017
rweller/stock.xchng

Yesterday, we discussed the disappearance of the American mall. Today, we discuss the vanishing American hospital. According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, America is the most expensive country in the world for hospital care.

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