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.

This presidential election cycle has brought enormous attention to the issues of free trade and manufacturing job loss in America.  Some of the focus has been on the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, which went into effect in 1994.

Many in Silicon Valley and other tech hotspots around the nation speak of the gig economy – a circumstance in which work consists of a series of short-term jobs coordinated through a mobile application.  As pointed out by writer Neil Irwin, while such an economy creates opportunities for companies like Uber among others, it raises significant concerns regarding the nature of work and compensation going forward. 

Many of us refer to today as tax day.  Others might be more likely to refer to April 15th as tax avoidance day.  As reported by the Washington Post, U.S. companies stashed another $200 billion in profits overseas last year, escaping billions of dollars in taxes in the process. 

While many Americans continue to express sorrow regarding U.S. economic performance, many economists are beginning to celebrate the economy’s recent achievements.  In March, national payrolls jumped by another two hundred and fifteen thousand. 

Lawmakers in California and New York recently voted to put their states on a path towards a fifteen dollar minimum wage.  These are the first two states to establish a level that had previously been reserved for cities like Seattle and San Francisco. 

China is the world’s largest market for new cars.  Last year, sales of cars, mini-vans and sport utility vehicles in China surged 8 percent.  As indicated by the New York Times, China’s car-buyers are not relegated to college educated, white collar elite. 

Much concern has been expressed regarding prospects for Chinese economic growth.  Chinese growth rates have recently been at their lowest in roughly two decades.  Still, the Chinese economy expanded about seven percent last year, one of the best performances in the world. 

Renter Nation - 4/8/16

Apr 10, 2016

Over the past several years, America has become more of a renter nation.  A decade ago, many people were racing to buy homes – sometimes more than one.  But the Great Recession and plunging home prices changed much of that, forcing some people into apartments and creating an aversion to homeownership among many. 

Personal income in the U.S., a broad measure that includes earnings from employment, income from property, and government benefits, grew four point four percent in twenty fifteen according to data recently supplied by the Commerce Department. 

Many economists have worked to define concepts such as middle class and working class.  There are no set definitions.  Some define class by income, but as indicated by writer Noah Smith, those definitions can become easily distorted by local differences in the cost of living.