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.

During the current election cycle, there has been a lot of discussion about protecting and creating manufacturing jobs in America.  Several candidates have railed against trade deals – one has proposed a forty five percent tariff on Chinese exports to the U.S. 

It is quite conceivable that over the next several years, there may come a time when many will long for the good old days when the economy was growing two percent.  Two percent doesn’t sound so impressive now.  As indicated by writer Eduardo Porter, back when Lyndon Johnson was president, the U.S. economy managed to expand by nearly five percent a year for nearly a decade. 

One of the labor markets early warning indicators may be flashing trouble for the broader economy.  As reported by writer Eric Morath, hiring by staffing agencies has ground to a halt in twenty sixteen.  The temporary staffing sector has shed more than twenty seven thousand positions since December, which is in stark contrast to the previous five years when the category expanded five times faster than overall national employment. 

Much attention has been paid recently to unfulfilled economic expectations in a number of large emerging nations, including China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.  Here’s another under performer – Venezuela, home to about thirty million people. 

There is a conventional wisdom suggesting that burdensome student debt is preventing many college graduates from purchasing a home.  There is much truth to that, but the issue is more complicated than it first seems. 

For many years, America’s college campuses collectively boasted growing student population.  But as reported by CNNMoney, enrollment peaked in two thousand and ten at just over twenty one million students. 

The share of foreign born workers in the U.S. labor force continues to rise.  According to recently released Labor Department statistics, the labor force included twenty six point three million foreign born persons in twenty fifteen. 

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, that amounts to nearly seventeen percent of the labor force, the highest level on records dating back two decades.  The share of foreign born workers in America’s labor force was in the range of eleven percent in nineteen ninety six and approached sixteen percent in two thousand and seven. 

America is not producing many babies, and this lull is likely to last for years.  This shift is poised to ripple throughout the U.S. economy and will impact everything from hospitals and physician practices to public sector programs and the future labor market. 

One of the reasons for near-term economic optimism is the nation’s housing market.  Thanks in part to remarkably low mortgage rates, buyer interest remains high, helping to drive home prices higher and spawn positive wealth effects. 

When economists point to job growth data, a common retort is that while the nation may be adding jobs, it’s not adding many good ones.  An recent analysis by the Wall Street Journal analyzed job changes over time in approximately one hundred sub-sectors in order to determine the extent to which the nation has been adding higher paying or lower paying positions.