The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 7:33 am

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. 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.

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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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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Student Debt and the Housing Market - 7/8/14

Yesterday, we focused on data indicating that America’s student debt crisis is overblown.  Today, we look at trends that suggest the opposite.  Nowhere does the student debt issue in American appear to have as much impact as in the housing market.  Homeownership among Americans under age 35 hit its lowest level on record earlier this year just as indebtedness among college graduates attained a new high according to the Wall Street Journal.  College students who took out loans will graduate this year with an average of $33,000 in student debt, up 32 percent since 2007 in real terms.  Debt among graduate students is also up sharply. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Student Debt - 7/7/14

When looking to explain the continued lackluster performance of the U.S. economy or the sputtering housing market, the topic of student debt is almost assuredly to emerge.  Anecdotes shared around water coolers create the impression that high levels of student debt are typical – that there are baristas with $75,000 in debt and poets who need to come up with $100,000. 

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The Morning Economic Report
2:14 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

U.S. Housing Market - 7/4/14

Today, we declare the likelihood that the U.S. housing market will bounce back during the second half of 2014.  According to Moody’s Analytics, the U.S. housing market will not only rebound during the second half of this year, but will strengthen further in 2015. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:48 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Declining Labor Force Participation - 7/3/14

A growing number of women who are ostensibly in their peak earning years are deciding not to participate in the U.S. labor force.  The declining labor force participation of women in their 40's and 50's in the labor force is attributed to numerous factors, including the need to care for parents.  Reductions in state and local government have also hit this group harder than most. 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:41 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Butter - 7/2/14

We’re at dinner.  I ask you if you would like me to pass the butter.  You probably say yes, and that’s because we live in the America of 2014.  Americans this year are expected to eat an average of 5.6 pounds of butter according to the U.S. government.  That represents nearly 22.5 sticks of butter for every woman, man and child in the U.S.  It translates into 892,000 total tons of butter consumed nationally, an amount not seen since World War II according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:26 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Coal Comeback - 7/1/14

Coal may be making a comeback.  Conventional wisdom suggests that coal will gradually be replaced by natural gas and other fuels.  Since the 1950's, coal has been the mainstay of electricity production in America, but its market share has been falling.  According to Bloomberg, it accounted for 39 percent of total U.S.

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The Morning Economic Report
8:42 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Regional Growth - 6/30/14

Economic activity in the Northeast and Midwest is becoming more vigorous as these regions of the U.S. emerge from a difficult winter.  According to Moody’s Analytics, new residential construction permits surged in March in the Northeast after declining significantly in both January and February.  Payroll employment growth in the Midwest posted its strongest rate of growth for the year in April.  The Federal Reserve’s manufacturing indices for both the Northeast and Midwest rebounded handsomely in April and May flowing periods of decline or slow growth during the year’s initial quarter. 

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