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.

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.

song zhen/flickr

According to a new report from Bankrate, nearly six in ten Americans do not have enough savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense. Only 41 percent of adults report having enough in their savings accounts to cover a surprise bill of this magnitude. As reported by CNN Money, a little more than one in five said that they would put the expense on a credit card. Another one in five would have to reduce their spending while 11 percent would turn to friends and family for financial assistance.

Vanishing Hospitals

Jan 25, 2017
rweller/stock.xchng

Yesterday, we discussed the disappearance of the American mall. Today, we discuss the vanishing American hospital. According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, America is the most expensive country in the world for hospital care.

Rene Schwietzke/flickr

The American mall appears to be fading. Already this year, we have heard Macy’s announce another round of store closures. Sears has, too, and The Limited has announced that it is closing all of its brick and mortar stores to focus upon its online business.

Our Expanding Economy

Jan 23, 2017
Michael Daddino/flickr

Despite setbacks from burst real estate bubbles, costly wars, deep recessions and disappearing industries, the U.S. economy has still managed to expand significantly over the past three and a half decades. As indicated by writer Patricia Cohen, the real economy has more than doubled in size over that period. The public sector now uses a substantial share of output to hand over as much as $5 trillion to assist working families, the elderly, disable, and unemployed to finance a home, visit a doctor, or put their children through school.

zombieite/flickr

You probably like some of your colleagues, and can’t even stand to look at others. But imagine if some of your colleagues were robots. Would that be better or worse? One suspects that that will depend upon whom is replaced.

Adam/flickr

The economic recovery that began in mid 2009 is at long last showing up more meaningfully in the paychecks of average Americans. The Labor Department recently reported that average hourly earnings have risen 2.9 percent over the past year – that’s the best annual performance since the economic recovery began seven and a half years ago.

Examining the Economy

Jan 18, 2017
ChelseaViola/flickr

As of this moment, the U.S. economy seems to be in pretty decent shape. Odds of a near-term recession appear low. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the economy has expanded for the past 11 quarters.  Hiring remains stable. Home prices have been rising. Private construction spending has been expanding. Consumer spending is up, particularly in the form of online sales. However, there were moments in 2016 when things didn’t look quite so good.

Work-Related Injuries

Jan 17, 2017
Esther Max/flickr

In 2015, there were more than 4800 fatal work-related injuries in America not counting active members of the U.S. armed forces. As reported by CNBC, 10 industries in particular experienced the highest rates of death per 100 thousand workers. Most of these jobs are filled by men.

Men in the Workforce

Jan 16, 2017
M State/flickr

For much of the past decade, the labor market has arguably been friendlier to women seeking employment than men. That’s because the jobs that have been disappearing in large numbers, like machine operator, are predominantly male oriented while occupations that have been expanding, like health aide, mostly implicate women.

Richard Elzey/flickr

If you are driving right now, you might be able to spot a Ford F-150 pickup truck. In fact, you may be driving one. Since 1977, Ford has sold enough F-series trucks to circle the earth more than three times. As reported by CNN Money, the F-series has been America’s best-selling truck 40 consecutive years. Ford recently announced that it has sold more than 26 million units since the model line’s introduction. Analysts say that the F-series has become more popular due to cultural factors.

Miranda Granche/flickr

Economists have suffered enormous difficulty trying to explain why productivity has failed to expand as rapidly as it has in the past. A recent report supplied by the polling company Gallup singles out anti-competitive and wasteful practices by teachers unions, associations of physicians, universities and local governments. Researchers tracked health, education and housing costs from 1980 to 2014. They find that the combined spending in these three areas rose from 25 percent to 40 percent of GDP since 1980 without commensurate improvements in quality.

Education Deserts

Jan 11, 2017
anah1ta/flickr

In Baltimore and in many other communities, it is common for people to identify and speak of food deserts – places where it is challenging for residents to purchase nutritious food. According to the Urban Institute, there are also education deserts – places that are many miles away from a community college or other places where one can obtain needed skills training.

Children and Income

Jan 10, 2017
Jon Grainger/flickr

A recent study by the public policy organization, Demos, indicates that the financial burden of having young children can substantially reduce a family’s income and increase its chances of falling into poverty.

Oscar Ucho/flickr

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.

Auckland Photo News/flickr

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
Alejandro Mallea/flickr

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.

Kathryn Decker/flickr

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.

Jeremy Sternberg/flickr

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.

Oscar Ucho/flickr

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.

census.gov

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.

Andy Nguyen/flickr

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.

Matthew G/flickr

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.

www.SeniorLiving.Org

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.

Phalinn Ooi/flickr

When people talk about America getting older, they are typically speaking about its population.  But as pointed out by Bloomberg, that’s hardly the only thing in the U.S. that’s aging.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average age of all fixed assets, including things like factories and hospitals, stands at twenty three years, the oldest in records tracing back to nineteen twenty five.

The Recession Risk

Dec 23, 2016
TaxCredit.net

Anirban has good news about the odds of a recession occurring in the next year.

Japanese Millenials

Dec 22, 2016
J3SSL33/flickr

How the frugality of 25 to 34-year-olds in Japan is affecting the country's market.

Chinese Imports

Dec 21, 2016
Robert Scoble/flickr

Anirban Basu discusses the impact of China's manufacturing and export centers on American firms.

Energy Production

Dec 20, 2016
USFWS/Joshua Winchell

Anirban Basu on energy production, which he calls "one of the most dynamic aspects of the U.S. economy."

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