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.

With the U.S. labor market continuing to improve, more people are participating in the nation’s economic recovery.  For instance, the unemployment rate among Hispanics has declined by nearly a full percentage point so far in twenty sixteen, to five point four percent.  This represents the lowest level of Hispanic unemployment since March two thousand and seven. 

One of the complaints regarding the current economic expansion is that labor force participation has been shrinking.  Typically, one expects labor force participation to expand as an economy recovers since the likelihood of engaging in a fruitful job search increases.  However, until recently, labor force participation was at a thirty eight year low. 

The U.S. labor force participation rate has fallen rapidly for much of the past decade.  One of the primary factors has been an aging population, but there are certain other demographic factors at play.  One important demographic shift over the past few decades has been the decline of marriage. 

America’s labor market is on a major winning streak.  Data regarding February’s performance rendered it official – this is now the lengthiest sustained period of job growth in the U.S. since the government began keeping track in nineteen thirty nine.  Since twenty-ten, the economy has added more than thirteen million jobs without suffering even a single negative month. 

It’s not your imagination – prescription drugs are becoming more expensive.  According to a recent study supplied by the AARP, the average cost for a year’s supply of a prescription drug doubled in just seven years to more than eleven thousand dollars.  That represents approximately three quarters of the average annual Social Security benefit. 

In late 2013, two Oxford academics released a paper claiming that forty seven percent of current American jobs are at high risk of being automated within the next twenty years.  As reported by the New York Times, the study analyzed more than 700 occupations using data from the Labor Department.  The researchers assigned a probability of automation to each occupation according to nine variables. 

The recession is over, but not forgotten.  Though America has officially completed more than eight months of economic recovery, the U.S. Labor Department recently reported that average annual unemployment rates in thirty six states plus the District of Columbia in twenty fifteen were higher than the average unemployment rate for those states in two thousand and seven. 

Economists at Citigroup recently concluded that the probability of a global recession is already high and rising.  A note released by a team of Citigroup economists stated that quote in our view, global growth is at a highly precarious point, after two to three years of relative calm. 

Many people are aware that the economic gaps between the wealthiest Americans and others have widened in recent years.  The same is true for the gap between the richest and poorest American communities.  A recent study supplied by the Economic Innovation Group breaks down its findings into areas as small as individual zip codes. 

Let’s say your neighbor wins the lottery.  You would likely experience a range of emotions.  But you wouldn’t think that their winning the lottery would impact your financial life.  But it could. 

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