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.

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Maybe you had a terrific 2016 or maybe you didn’t. Companies can also have good or bad years. According to CNN Money, here are some of the companies that had a terrible year and hope to bounce-back in 2017.

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You may have heard the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” a lot over the past few weeks. While it’s unlikely that you would actually purchase a Partridge in a Pear Tree or Two Turtle Doves or Six Geese a-Laying, etc., you could conceivably. Each year, the PNC Index calculates the cost of purchasing the 12 sets of items listed in that song, including those 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming.

The Price of a Penny

Jan 5, 2017
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When you find all those pennies in your pockets or in the crevices of your couch, your probably feel pretty annoyed. Pennies are not very valuable and in sufficient numbers are heavy and bulky. But the next time you find a penny, you might want to consider how expensive it was to manufacture.

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Eduardo Porter recently authored a fascinating article regarding rates of economic recovery by race and ethnicity. He points out that while Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans have millions more jobs now than they did in November 2007, the last month before the recession, Caucasians have actually lost 700,000 more jobs than they gained.

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Many people focus upon the fact that the official U.S. unemployment rate is below five percent. But that number can be misleading since it doesn’t include discouraged workers – people who would like to be working but gave up looking for a job.

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A new administration is coming to Washington, D.C., but the current one is not quite done. Recently, the White House released its annual Economic Report of the President. This will of course be the last such volume produced by the Obama administration.

We are a diverse society, and that emerged as a major point of emphasis in 2016.  There are many ways to measure how diverse a society is, including the share of people in various minority groups. One of the most interesting ways is by looking at people’s last names. According to newly released Census Bureau data, the top 25 last names accounted for 8.7 percent of U.S. population in 2010, not much changed from 2000.

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There are futurists who have been saying that the U.S. is racing towards a jobless economy – one characterized by cashier free stores, driverless trucks, and financial professionals powered by artificial intelligence. Perhaps, but right now, America is home to many employment opportunities. Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate dipped to four point 6 percent, well below the 5.8 percent average that has been recorded since 1948.

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America still arguably offers more economic opportunity than any place on the planet.  Recently, however, a broad national gauge of conditions that foster equality and social mobility has stopped increasing after five years of steady improvement.


As pointed out by writer Ian Talley, the weak global economy may be producing at least one benefit – it is forcing the adoption of economic reforms in some of the worst places in the world in which to conduct business.  The World Bank ranks 190 economies around the world in terms of their business climate.