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.

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.

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.

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