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.

David Goldman/AP

In light of falling unemployment rates, economists have been predicting faster wage growth.  The logic is obvious.  With fewer available jobseekers, expanding employers need to offer more money to fill job openings. 

Moreover, as demand for workers expands, more current employees are likely to be lured to other firms, but only if those other employers offer higher compensation.  All of this serves to expand wages, but rather than accelerating, growth in American wages has been leveling off recently. 

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For years, Americans have wondered why the U.S. economy hasn’t been expanding more rapidly.  Since the end of the Great Recession, economic growth has averaged only about two percent per annum and has yet to achieve three percent rate in any given calendar year.  Economists have put forward all kinds of explanations ranging from the dislocating impacts of technology to global trade and the retirement of Baby Boomers.

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There has been a lot of focus lately on the airline practice of overbooking.  While many of us are just now becoming aware of the types of issues such practices can raise, overbooking is about as old as the airline industry itself.  

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Phil Roeder/flickr

The divergence of economic opinion along partisan lines has perhaps never been greater.  In other words, one’s beliefs regarding U.S. economic prospects are likely to be shaped heavily by one’s politics. 

In the words of Richard Curtin, who directs the University of Michigan’s monthly survey of consumer sentiment, "the partisan divide has never had as large an impact on consumers’ economic expectations."

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Oscar Ucho/flickr

As reported by writer Josh Zumbrun, an expanding number of economic forecasters have begun to reconsider their bullish outlook for the U.S. economy.  This is in large measure attributable to growing doubts regarding the extent to which the new presidential administration will be able to implement its pro-business agenda.  Following the election last November, respondents to the Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey of forecasters significantly raised their estimates for growth, inflation and interest rates.  

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Olu Eletu/Unsplash

Coming into the year, there was a considerable amount of confidence in corporate America.  The notion has been that the new administration in Washington, D.C. would implement an intensely pro-business agenda emphasizing tax reform, stimulus spending and deregulation.  Surveys indicate that businesses remain relatively confident, but other data suggest that confidence in corporate American may be waning.  

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Jon Welsh/flickr

While there are many stakeholders who are upbeat regarding near-term U.S. economic prospects, expected improvement remains speculative. Last year, the U.S. economy expanded just 1.6 percent, though the year’s second half was better. Many economists continue to wonder if average growth of around 2 percent remains the best for which we can hope.  

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As a reflection of a reasonably strong economy, Americans are once again flying in large numbers. In fact, U.S. and foreign airlines carried a record number of passengers in 2016 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Anirban has more.


Jon Tucker/flickr

Despite indications of an improving economy and labor market, recent research indicates that recent college graduates continue to struggle with a lack of wage gains since the recession.  The bachelor’s degree has long been considered the ticket to the American middle class, but has arguably lost some of its mystique recently.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Mark Goebel/flickr

You may have heard of the so-called North Carolina Bathroom Bill. Many people didn’t like the policy and responded by withdrawing economic activity from that state. The Associated Press estimates that North Carolina’s bathroom bill will cost the state nearly $4 billion in lost business over a dozen years.

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