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.

Ricardo/flickr

While there has been a considerable volume of discussion recently regarding the curtailment of immigration in America, recent data indicate that through 2016, the foreign born share of the labor force continued to expand. According to U.S. Labor Department data, last year, there were 27 million foreign born people in the U.S. Labor Force. That translates into nearly 17 percent of the workforce. 

Anirban has more.

Rural Poverty

Jun 7, 2017
cisc1970/flickr

When people consider the presence concentrations of poverty in America, they may envision the conditions frequently associated with inner cities. Indeed, beginning at some point during the 1980s, the nation’s most challenging communities were often found in cities, where a combination of crime and suburban flight rendered large cities less economically vibrant.

Anirban has more. 


Ricardo/flickr

Despite forecasts suggesting that 2017 would be better for the global economy than 2016, economic growth during 2017’s initial quarter in developed economies slowed sharply. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently indicated that the combined economic output of its 35 members expanded just 0.4 percent during the first quarter.  

Anirban has more. 


Better Bridges

Jun 5, 2017
melissaclark/flickr

One of our standard national narratives is that America’s infrastructure is collapsing. Our pipes leak, our water is polluted, our bridges obsolete, and our airports prehistoric. What is less often heard are some of the improvements being made to infrastructure. For instance, as indicated by writer David Harrison, America’s bridges are actually getting sounder.  

Anirban has more.


Kathryn Decker/flickr

The job market has steadily improved for college graduates in recent years. Unfortunately, the cities that tend to offer the most employment opportunities for recent graduates are also typically the most expensive. A recently released report from Trulia estimates the share of apartment listings that would take up less than 30 percent of the typical millennial’s paycheck in major U.S. cities. 


Auto Loan Debt

Jun 1, 2017
John Loo/flickr

There are a lot of new cars out there, which also means that there are a lot of people who now have a car loan. According to recently released data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a record $107 million Americans have auto loan debt. Much of this debt is of recent origin. In early 2012, only 80 million Americans had car loans. As indicated by CNNMoney, back then, more Americans had home mortgages that auto loans. 


Household Debt

May 31, 2017
kuhnmi/flickr

Remember a few years ago when households around the country committed to paying down their debts? The financial crisis hit many households hard, particularly those who had taken on a considerable amount of debt. For a time, household debt was in decline. In late 2008, household debt commenced a decline that would last for 19 consecutive quarters. But debt began to rise again in 2013. 

Anirban has more. 


Mike Mozart/flickr

During the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. auto sector was in crisis, with both General Motors and Chrysler requiring federal bailouts to survive bankruptcy. During the years thereafter, the domestic auto sector steadily rebounded and eventually generated record sales and profits.  

Anirban has more. 


Horsepower

May 29, 2017
Leo Hidalgo/flickr

If you’re driving right now, you might note that there are a lot of powerful cars around you. You might be in a high horsepower vehicle yourself. As reported by Bloomberg, last year, America’s drivers looking for a vehicle with more than 600 horsepower had 18 models to choose from.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Lagging Cities

May 26, 2017
Erich Ferdinand/flickr

It’s a big country, which among other things means that something that generally characterizes the nation may not be pertinent to the conditions prevailing in dozens of communities. Here’s an example. We are now in the midst of the third longest economic expansion in U.S. history. The nation’s unemployment rate is at roughly a decade low, but as indicated by writer Jeffery Sparshott, nearly a third of America’s cities and suburbs have failed to regain all of the jobs they lost during the most recent recession.

The Labor Market

May 25, 2017
Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

If one wanted to make the argument that the U.S. labor market is in good shape, one could easily quote a few statistics to make the case. One might be tempted to start with the fact that the official unemployment rate stands at 4.4 percent. As pointed out by writer Greg Ip, unemployment has been this low only twice since 1990.

Global Economies

May 24, 2017
Ricardo/flickr

There has been a considerable volume of discussion recently regarding improvements in global economic performance. Last year, the worldwide economy expanded just three point one percent. The International Monetary Fund predicts that this year will be better, and that global output will expand 3.5 percent.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


The National Debt

May 23, 2017
AP/Mark Lennihan

There has been a lot of discussion about tax cuts recently, both corporate and personal at the federal level.  One might be tempted to think that the based on the renewed appetite for tax cuts, the national debt is no longer a significant issue. That inference is flawed. The national debt continues to be a major issue. 

Higher Oil Prices

May 22, 2017
Ryan Lackey/flickr

Though oil prices remain low by longer-term historical standards, they are considerably higher than they were in early 2016. Those higher prices have unleashed a surge in investment among U.S. shale producers, which are collecting boosting their drilling budgets ten times faster than the balance of the world. 


The Job Churn

May 19, 2017
Kathryn Decker/flickr

There is nothing economists like more than challenging conventional wisdom. As an example, there is a widely accepted narrative indicating that the U.S. labor market is presently experiencing an unprecedented rate of technology driven disruption. This is made apparent by, for instance, the growth in online retail sales and the loss of jobs at brick and mortar retailers.  Or by the expansion of Uber and the pressure this places on cab companies.  


One of reasons that the U.S. economy grew rapidly for much of the 20th century was the large-scale entry of women into the workforce. Female participation in the workforce expanded only gradually for much of the century, but then expanded rapidly from the early 1970s through the early 1990s.

Anirban has more. 


AP/Mark Lennihan

According to available estimates, the U.S. economy expanded just 0.7  percent on an annualized basis during the first three months of 2017. Despite that, many economists describe economic conditions as improving. They probably are.

Anirban has more. 


futureatlas/flickr

While it is true that home values are rising in many neighborhoods in the context of low inventory and more prospective buyers, in many communities, the housing market has still not fully recovered from the financial crisis – this according to a new study from Trulia.  

Listen for more. 


College Enrollment

May 15, 2017
John Loo/flickr

While there has been a considerable amount of discussion in recent years about whether college students are forced to take on too much debt, high school graduates continue to head to college in large numbers. 

Anirban has more on this story. 


Entrepreneurship

May 12, 2017
Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

This might feel like a remarkable period for entrepreneurship in America, with companies like Twitter and Snap making their impact felt both in our lives and on financial markets. But beneath the headlines made by the latest Silicon Valley darlings is evidence that new companies aren’t the economic engine that they were in decades past.

Listen for more on this story.


Inflation

May 10, 2017
frankieleon/flickr

Inflationary pressures have been building globally. For instance, as indicated by writer Neil Irwin, in the Eurozone, inflation reached two percent during the year ended this February for the first time since 2013. In America, a key measure of inflation that is favored by the Federal Reserve crossed the two percent threshold for the first time in five years.

Anirban has more. 


Sellers Wield Power

May 10, 2017
futureatlas/flickr

You remember that a few years ago the housing market could be easily characterized as a buyers.  During and after the recession, there was a flood of foreclosures and a dearth of people qualifying for mortgages looking to purchase a dwelling.  The result was a collapse in prices.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Ricardo/flickr

Despite the ability of communications technology to better connect us to the balance of the world irrespective of where we are, cities are becoming more important, not less so. This is particularly true for cities in emerging nations. While wealthier nations of the world were urbanized decades ago, the proportion of urban dwellers in emerging markets is in the range of fifty percent today.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

According to the economics research team at Glassdoor, male and female college graduates who hold the same bachelor’s degree will frequently self-sort into different occupational categories due to societal pressure and norms.  As reported by CNBC, male graduates will tend to gravitate toward higher earning jobs whereas women will gravitate toward lower earning positions.

More on this subject, Anirban Basu.

Erich Ferdinand/flickr

Elections in the U.S. and in Europe have brought to light just how differently people view the effects of immigration.  Among many groups, immigration has fallen out of favor. But an analysis of United Nations data by Fitch Ratings indicates that halting immigration would drastically diminish the potential working population of developed economies, leaving these aging societies more dependent on shrinking labor forces and resulting in significant financial stress on pension systems.  

On immigration, Anirban Basu.

Mike Petrucci/Unsplash

Stores are closing at an epic pace in America, this despite the fact that economic performance has improved recently and that we are in the midst of an eighth year of economic recovery. 

As reported by CNNMoney, brokerage firm Credit Suisse recently indicated in a research report that it is possible that more than eighty six hundred brick-and-mortar stores will shutter their doors in twenty seventeen.  By comparison, the report says that only about two thousand stores were closed last year.  

With more, Anirban Basu.

frankieleon/flickr

The paychecks of Americans are rising at their fastest rate since the recession ended.  As indicated by writer Eric Morath, median weekly earnings for full-time workers rose 3.9% during the first quarter relative to a year ago according to the Labor Department.  That represents the best gain since late two thousand and eight. 

It took nearly eight years of economic recovery to get to this point, but the nearly four percent growth in weekly pay is roughly the rate reached during the two prior economic expansions.

Join Anirban Basu for more.

Ricardo/Flickr

  Last year, the International Monetary Fund repeatedly downgraded its forecast for the global economic outlook.  After coming into twenty sixteen suggesting that global economic conditions would improve, the Fund eventually downgraded its estimate of twenty-sixteen global economic expansion to three point one percent.  That was the worst year for global growth since the financial crisis ended.  

Listen for more details.

David Goldman/AP

In light of falling unemployment rates, economists have been predicting faster wage growth.  The logic is obvious.  With fewer available jobseekers, expanding employers need to offer more money to fill job openings. 

Moreover, as demand for workers expands, more current employees are likely to be lured to other firms, but only if those other employers offer higher compensation.  All of this serves to expand wages, but rather than accelerating, growth in American wages has been leveling off recently. 

Listen for more.

Joshua Davis/Unsplash

For years, Americans have wondered why the U.S. economy hasn’t been expanding more rapidly.  Since the end of the Great Recession, economic growth has averaged only about two percent per annum and has yet to achieve three percent rate in any given calendar year.  Economists have put forward all kinds of explanations ranging from the dislocating impacts of technology to global trade and the retirement of Baby Boomers.

Join Anirban Basu for more.

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