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.

Economic Growth

Mar 9, 2017
Jon Welsh/flickr

Last year, the U.S. economy expanded 1.6 percent. During last year’s final quarter, the economy expanded at a 1.9 percent annualized rate and growth is actually not expected to pick up significantly during the current quarter. So much of the talk about faster U.S. economic growth is largely speculative. In this context, one could ask the question, just how much faster could the U.S. economy grow?  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Energy Prices

Mar 8, 2017
Tarah6801/flickr

Despite all the drama emerging from Washington, D.C. and other national capitals around the world, the U.S. economy continues to show signs of gathering momentum. As indicated by writer Neil Irwin, some of the factors at work may turn out to be temporary. For instance, energy prices were very low about a year ago, but have since recovered, helping to drive more investment into oil exploration and similarly situated activities. For instance, energy prices were very low about a year ago, but have since recovered, helping to drive more investment into oil exploration and similarly situated activities.

Anirban has more of the story. 

 

Healthcare Spending

Mar 7, 2017
RyanWhiteHealth/flickr

For years, various agencies have been striving to reduce America’s health-related expenditures. Despite those efforts, a recent report from nonpartisan experts at Health and Human Services concludes that healthcare spending will continue to claim an expanding share of national resources for the foreseeable future – and that’s regardless of what the new president and congress do with the Affordable Care Act. 

Anirban has more of the story. 


David J/flickr

If people expect an economy to expand slowly, then that economy is likely to expand slowly. In other words, expectations are likely to become self-fulfilling prophecy. This is the conclusion of a new paper authored by three economists. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the economists, including Olivier Blanchard from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, generate key insights relative to productivity.

Anirban has more of the story. 


amy gizienski/flickr

Let’s face it – living near your parents isn’t altogether fashionable. Often, the people who we consider as among the most successful are those who moved far away, perhaps to exotic locales like Singapore or Sydney or to American commercial centers like Wall Street or Silicon Valley. But recent research indicates that sometimes it’s best to stay close to mommy and daddy.  

Anirban has more of the story. 


Sean MacEntee/flickr

There are plenty of items that are becoming more expensive, whether healthcare, apartments, gasoline, or homes. But occasionally, one will come across a product or service category in which prices are falling.  Air travel is perhaps poised to be one of those categories.  

Anirban has more of this story.


When the price of gasoline or food goes up, we usually view that as bad. If the prices of goods and services rise too rapidly, it is expected that the Federal Reserve will clamp down on money supply to keep inflation in check. But when the price of homes rises, that’s often discussed in the context of economic improvement. 

Anirban has more on this story. 


Inflation

Feb 28, 2017
Jon Welsh/flickr

Inflation is beginning to emerge. The prices Americans pay for goods and services surged last month by the largest amount in four years, reflecting in part a rebound in the cost of gasoline.

Anirban has more on this story. 


cjuneau/flickr

In the ongoing debate regarding immigration, one argument put forward for limiting immigration is that reductions in the supply of foreign labor will lead to higher wages among native-born Americans. New research indicates that this equation for improved labor market outcomes isn’t quite so simple. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, a team of economists has analyzed the mid-century Bracero program, which allowed nearly half a million seasonal farm workers per year into the U.S. from Mexico.

GDP

Feb 27, 2017
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Last year, the U.S. economy expanded just 1.6 percent in terms of gross domestic product or GDP. 2016 will go down as yet another year of tepid growth. But there are a growing number of economists who are expressing skepticism about the accuracy of the GDP measure.

Karen/flickr

When many of us were growing up, it was quite customary for someone to be on strike. Over time, the strike or work stoppage has become a rarely used instrument for labor unions to extract better treatment from employers or higher levels of compensation. According to data recently made available by the U.S. Labor Department, fewer major work stoppages occurred over the past ten years than occurred each year from 1947 to 1981.

Jo Sau/flickr

There has certainly been much concern expressed about the declining economic circumstances of American men in recent decades. But American men are hardly alone in facing adversity. The Resolution Foundation, a British think tank, has published new research indicating that British men born between 1981 and 2000 will earn $12,500 pounds less in their twenties than Generation X men.

China's Economy

Feb 21, 2017
Thomas Depenbusch/flickr

China is home to the world’s second largest economy. Considerable concern has been expressed regarding the Chinese economy in recent years due to a combination of rampant debt and fears of overbuilt real estate markets. For now, China’s economy continues to perform. Chinese gross domestic product expanded 6.7 percent last year and ended the year on a high note.

A Dynamic Economy?

Feb 20, 2017
Michael Daddino/flickr

We economists could easily make the case that America’s economy is in fine shape. Jobs are being created, unemployment is low, wages are rising faster than inflation, which remains contained, and national output remains ascendant. But while economists express such views, our fellow countrymen and women don’t seem to be buying it.

The Rise in Contract Employees

Feb 17, 2017
Kathryn Decker/flickr

Even as hiring activity remains brisk and more firms spend resources training employees, many American companies are activity planning to hire fewer people in the future. As indicated by writer Lauren Weber, the outsourcing wave that moved thousands of apparel manufacturing jobs to China and dozens of call center operations to India remains just as likely to happen within companies across the U.S. and in virtually every industry.

Job Training

Feb 16, 2017
flickr

With the economy approaching completion of its eighth year of recovery, employers large and small are complaining that they can’t find workers with the right skill sets. Skilled workers in manufacturing, construction, logistics, finance, technology and other industries have been steadily scooped up as the economy has expanded. The result is that more businesses are now spending resources to train people to satisfactorily fill available job openings.

Job Growth

Feb 15, 2017
Jeremy Sternberg/flickr

Many economists have been indicating that the economy is approaching full employment. This doesn’t mean that the unemployment rate will soon be zero – it means that we are approaching a situation in which a tighter labor market will eventually translate into more inflation, which in turn will produce higher interest rates.

Jon Welsh/flickr

Economists generate lots of forecasts. Usually, we offer many caveats along with our estimates, indicating that the accuracy of our forecasts is threatened by a set of risks. Risks can take many forms, including geopolitical risks like war or terror, policy risks such as unanticipated actions by the Federal Reserve or a presidential administration, or sudden financial market corrections.

The Global Economy

Feb 13, 2017

The global economy is one massive riddle. For instance, in a world characterized by sluggish economic growth, why are companies around the world hiring so aggressively, and why hasn’t the demand for workers translated into faster wage growth? As pointed out by writer Tom Fairless, from Tokyo to London, unemployment rates have declined. In America and in the United Kingdom, the official unemployment rate has been below five percent recently. In the 19 nation Eurozone, the unemployment rate just hit a seven year low.

Female Homeowners

Feb 10, 2017
futureatlas/flickr

You’ve heard it before. Women earn less than men – they pay harsher penalties in the workplace when pursuing parenthood – they also often struggle more with debt and save less for retirement. But as pointed out by Bloomberg, there’s at least one area of personal finance in which single women are outpacing their male counterparts in America – homeownership.

Pachakutik ../flickr

Who does one consider to be the head of a particular household? Economic circumstances have much to do with that designation. As pointed out Janet Adamy, a century ago, father’s were typically considered to be the head of household. That status often derived from dad’s role as the sole breadwinner.

RyanWhiteHealth/flickr

One of our contemporary conventional wisdoms is that healthcare spending is surging because of our expanding life spans. As indicated by writer Austin Frakt, the average American lives three years longer today – reaching nearly 79-years-old, than in 1995. The median age in the U.S. is set to rise to about 40 by 2040, up from less than 38 years today.

Aging and Economic Growth

Feb 7, 2017

For years, economists have fretted that rapidly aging populations in the developed world will suppress global economic growth. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, a new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research challenges that view. The paper, authored by economists from MIT and Boston University, argues that aging population have not had a negative effect on the growth of per capita gross domestic product.

Dan DeLuca/flickr

There has been a lot of discussion regarding America’s sagging labor force participation rate. The participation rate, which reflects the proportion of adults who are working or looking for work, stands only a few tenths of a percentage point above a multi-decade low. Men have been at the center of much of the discussion, including those living in rural areas or in Rust Belt cities. Male labor force participation has been declining for some time, but the economic impact was less apparent when women were entering the labor force in large numbers.

The chief economist at the job site Indeed, Jed Kolko, utilized Census Bureau data to dissect the educational, occupational, and geographical background of immigrants in the U.S. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Kolko’s analysis indicates that Americans most recent arrivals – those who came to the U.S. over the past five years – have been gravitating to jobs as medical researchers, software developers, physicists and economists.

Global Growth

Feb 2, 2017
Scott Akerman/flickr

The International Monetary Fund recently stated that the U.S. economy would expand faster than previously expected in both 2017 and 2018. The upward revision in the IMF’s forecast is based on the Trump Administration’s stated tax and spending plans. However, the IMF kept its global growth forecasts unchanged due to weakness in some key emerging markets.

A little less than two week ago, President Barack Obama spent his final day in the White House. We can now reflect upon his eight years in office, including with respect to the performance of the U.S. economy during those years. One word of caution is in order. Economists generally resist giving American presidents too much credit or blame for economic performance. Many factors influence economic outcomes, and many are not susceptible to the influence of policymakers.

Vehicle Deaths

Jan 31, 2017
Michael Gil/flickr

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths surged about 8 percent during the first nine months of last year. As reported by the New York Times, that represents a continuation of an upward spiral that may be partially explained by the presence of more Americans on the roads due to the ongoing economic recovery. Low gas prices are also inducing more driving.

Kathryn Decker/flickr

Judging by key headline numbers, the U.S. labor market remains in good shape. Unemployment remains below five percent and there are indications of faster wage growth. However, there are certain key metrics that suggest that the pace at which the job market has been improving is no longer accelerating.

Rising Down Payments

Jan 27, 2017
futureatlas.com

Saving a down payment for a house is a big deal. According to an analysis by Zillow, a median-priced home in the U.S. now costs more than $192,000, which means that buyers have to come up with more than $38,000 to put 20 percent down. That translates into about two-thirds of the average household income. As indicated by CNN Money, that down payment figure fails to include the added expenditures associated with purchasing a home like inspections, closing costs and moving expenses.

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